We are always trying to improve on our facilities and make them greener. In 2017, we invested more than DKK 26 million in environmental projects across our facilities. Here are some of these stories.
Denmark: Re-use of pre-consumed magnetic materials
Magnetic materials that contain rare earth elements are expensive to produce and are obtained through a complicated solvent extraction refining process that involves lot of chemicals and tailings handling. Currently, Grundfos uses these magnetic materials to produce energy efficient products.In an effort to reduce their environmental footprint and promote the sustainability culture, Grundfos Denmark began to maximize the utilization of resources by adopting reuse strategies of the pre-consumed magnetic materials from production scrap.
They conducted tests to evaluate the product performance and material stability when mixing re-use materials with virgin materials in varying proportions. The tests consistently showed that magnetic materials could be reused, without any degradation and compromise to product quality.
The initiative was a stepping stone to align the circular economy strategies for Grundfos products and allowed Grundfos to gain better insights towards the processing aspects of magnetic materials. On top of that, the initiative will save over 3425 m3 of water, 1200 kg of waste, 2 375 000 kWh of energy and 51 000 kg of CO2 on a yearly basis. The project will pave the way for larger sustainable solutions in future.
India: Installation of solar panels at plants for energy efficiency
In January 2017, Grundfos India installed 310 new solar panels on its production plant rooftops. This increased its total solar plant capacity by 96kW, to a new total capacity of 150kW. The initiative started due to a proactive interest to reduce their reliance on energy from fossil fuels, that emit gases that are harmful to the environment.
The increased use of renewable energy has helped them to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions produced. In 2017 alone, the solar panels alone generated 88 000 kWh of renewable energy. This resulted in a cut of more than 80 tonnes of CO2 emissions and will continue to reduce CO2 emissions in the long run.
India: Recycling waste to composite in 24 hours
Grundfos India has always looked towards using environment-centric ideas in solving its waste problems. Hence, they came up with the idea of treating organic waste generated from the office premises, into something useful.
They invested and set up a food compost conversion system, in which they collect all organic food waste from the canteens. This food waste is then converted into food compost in 24 hours, which can be used as an organic supply for gardening. Not only does this eliminate the need to buy manure in their gardens, it repurposes organic waste into practical uses.
Serbia: Heat recovery system from air compressors
In the past few years, Grundfos Serbia has found some difficulties in hitting their energy consumption targets. In order to decrease gas consumption and simultaneously reduce their CO2 footprint, they initiated the project of heat recovery from air compressors.
Grundfos Serbia has 5 air compressors that are each equipped with an Energy Recovery Unit. A large portion of energy that is used in compression processes is afterwards converted to unused heat energy that just dissipates away through the oil system. To kill two birds with one stone, they thought of a way to better utilise this heat in two other systems. By redirecting the heat from the hot oil to a high efficiency oil and finally to a water heat exchanger, they can repurpose the heat for use in their sanitary hot water heating system and return water reheating boiler. This results in gas savings, as it reduces the amount of energy needed for water heating processes.
After implementing the project for just 2 months, Grundfos Serbia was able to save over 10 525 m3 of gas and 21.3 tonnes of CO2. Moving forward, the project will continue to help reduce their carbon footprint and gas usage.
Suzhou: Recycling shower and CED waste water
For the past few years, Grundfos Suzhou has been struggling to meet its water consumption targets. As a result, they started to evaluate how water was being consumed at their sites. This then revealed an opportunity to reuse grey water (water used in shower and production facilities) in their cooling towers and Deionized Water Systems (DI).
They invested in installing new filters, pumps, pipes and electrical cabinets. By utilizing a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system and constructing grey water collection tanks, they were able to biochemically cleanse the grey water of impurities and use the water for other production processes. Thinking out of the box, it is estimated that they saved over 1000m3 (1 000 000 litres) of water per year.