By Jane Marsh
The automobile industry recently shifted towards sustainability. Since Tesla revolutionized the market with electric vehicles, other companies began searching for emission reduction technologies. As the sector decreases its air pollution production, it can meet eco-consumer demands.
An increase in environmental education and exposure generated a high demand for sustainable products. Vehicle companies can remain competitive in the industry by adopting renewable energy sources. The devices may significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions, meeting the Paris Agreement’s goal.
The Life Cycle Assessment
Germany was one of the first countries to ratify the Paris Agreement. Porsche can help the nation achieve its climate change prevention goals by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions through the production process. Before initiating sustainable change in the industry, we must examine the effects of manufacturing the vehicles.
Copper is an element widely used in vehicle manufacturing. During its mining process, many pipeline spills occur, polluting local drinking water. In 2012, 186,000 gallons of toxins entered Chase Creek, a tributary of the San Francisco River.
The pollution causes adverse human health and ecological effects. Mining additionally uses large quantities of fossil fuel-derived energy, generating atmospheric pollution. The transportation of rare elements also drives emissions in the manufacturing sector.
The transportation sector generates 29% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Some building materials travel by airplane and boat before reaching a production facility. Cars take on the emissions produced by the transportation of parts.
Another source of air pollution generated by Porsche manufacturing is facility electricity. The majority of energy produced in the U.S. derives from natural gas and coal. During combustion, the elements release air pollutants, invading the atmosphere.
Different manufactured models also create additional emissions. Electric vehicles produce 15% higher greenhouse gas emissions from the battery assembly. When companies evaluate the ecological impact of their production processes, they can adopt renewable energy sources and reduce their emissions.
The Electric Grid
Facilities can generate car parts with renewable energy when connected to an electric grid. Unlike conventional energy sources, the electric device will release zero emissions. When developed sustainably, the grid can achieve carbon neutrality.
The challenge with our current energy sources is their reliance on fossil fuels. The U.S. electricity and power sector utilize greenhouse gas emitting sources. We can develop a sustainable, net-zero grid when we eliminate our use of “dirty” energy.
One research team began generating a renewable fuel source from zero-emission power. They use wind turbines to produce hydrogen for fuel cell energy. Unlike conventional hydrogen production, the wind energy releases no pollutants.
Once we establish a zero-emission electric grid, manufacturing companies can develop vehicle parts sustainably with renewable energy.
A Net-Zero Manufacturing Facility
Using the electric grid, automobile companies can generate net-zero manufacturing facilities. They must additionally adopt compatible devices, decreasing stress on the grid. Energy-efficient production appliances can increase sustainability and shrink the carbon footprint of car parts.
Porsche can install geothermal heating systems in their production facilities, significantly decreasing energy use. Workers can utilize the system for indoor temperature control and warming appliances. The sustainable heating tool increases efficiency levels by five times compared to conventional devices.
The system also generates its own renewable energy, decreasing the company’s reliance on the grid. It lasts up to 25 years, requiring little maintenance, further increasing the manufacturing efficiency. Porsche can add other compatible appliances to their production centers, expanding the eco-friendliness of development.
Replacing conventional lights with LED bulbs can increase the sustainability of a manufacturing facility. The lights pull 75% less electricity from the source and last 25 times longer. They also reduce stress on the electric grid, accessing a reliable source for renewably generated vehicle parts.
Companies can also increase their access to renewable energy by installing solar and wind power devices on site. Unlike the electric grid, solar panels and wind turbines generate a direct flow of electricity to a facility. With excess clean power, automobile businesses can ensure the sustainability of their products.
Vote with Your Dollar
Instilling change may feel impossible for the average consumer. Fortunately, in America, we do vote with our dollars. Instead of purchasing a vehicle based on its aesthetic appeal, research the sustainability of its manufacturing processes.
When eco-consumers create a higher demand for renewably fueled automobile production, companies will respond. Over time, we can expect the industry to change, converting its energy reliance away from fossil fuels.
Jane works as the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers environmental news and sustainable living tips.