Sustainable production: Audi to cut water consumption in half by 2035
In its endeavour to conserve water and foster sustainable production, Audi has pledged to slash its own water consumption and stop using drinking water in vehicle production in the future.
Audi, under its Mission: Zero environmental program, is implementing efficient processes, closed water cycles*, and increasing the use of rainwater. Eventually, Audi plans to implement closed water cycles at all production locations. Peter Kössler, Board Member for Production and Logistics, says: “Our aim is to drastically reduce our freshwater consumption and cut the water consumption per produced vehicle in half by 2035. Where possible, we are already using recycled water that has been used multiple times in the cycle and treated.”
*In a closed water cycle, the wastewater produced during production is directly sent to the treatment plant, and fed back into the manufacturing system after being treated for reuse.
Why and how it’s being done The need of the hour is to save drinking water – a valuable and scarce resource – which is inaccessible to around 2.2 billon people globally. The United Nations estimates the demand for drinking water to increase by 55 per cent by 2050.
Automotive industry uses water in production processes such as coating, paint spray booths, washing, rinsing, cooling, air-conditioning systems, boilers and leak tests. To do its bit, Audi has set specific targets for each of its locations and implements measures to actively conserve water. This would help reduce the weighted water consumption in production from the current average of 3.75 cubic meters to 1.75 cubic meters (approx.) per produced car by 2035.
Audi uses rainwater retention basins at multiple sites to cover its own water demand. The use of rainwater is also to be increased at other sites over the next few years.
The Neckarsulm site will have a closed water cycle between the plant and the neighbouring municipal treatment facility of the Unteres Sulmtal wastewater association by 2025. The Ingolstadt site has been using a new service water supply centre since 2019 and helps Audi save up to 300,000 cubic meters of fresh water per year.
Audi is committed to the cause and has adopted several measures for sustainable manufacturing in four action areas of decarbonisation, water usage, resource efficiency, and biodiversity. Find out more about Audi’s initiatives under Mission:Zero Environmental Program.