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Sixty Two GM Plants Eliminate Landfill Waste

More than 40% of global operations produce "zero landfill."

by on May.06, 2010

Materials recycled this year include 650,000 tons of metal, 16,600 tons of wood, 21,600 tons of cardboard, and 3,600 tons of plastic.

Sixty-two General Motors Company manufacturing plants have achieved “zero landfill” status by recycling or reusing all normal plant wastes, the Detroit based automaker said today. This means 43% of its global manufacturing facilities no longer send any production waste to landfills.

GM’s goal, announced in 2008, is to convert half of its major manufacturing facilities worldwide into landfill free operations by the end of 2010. To date, GM is now close to delivering on that commitment.

“We’ve been working for quite some time at eliminating waste and developing support systems to recycle or reuse wastes we can’t yet eliminate,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Environment, Energy and Safety policy. “These plants have taken this process to its highest level. They are leading General Motors and the worldwide manufacturing industry.”

Landfill-free GM plants include 27 facilities in North America, 21 facilities in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, and 14 facilities in Europe.

On average, more than 97% of waste materials from GM’s zero landfill plants are recycled or reused and about 3% is converted to energy at waste-to-energy facilities replacing fossil fuels. More than 2 million tons of waste materials will be recycled or reused at GM plants worldwide this year. An additional 45,000 tons will be converted to energy at waste-to-energy facilities.

Other GM facilities also attain high levels of recycling. Overall, GM’s global facilities currently recycle more than 90% of the waste produced.

GM claims that zero landfill plants and other facilities will prevent more than 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emission reductions from entering the atmosphere this year. Other environmental benefits include avoiding potential environmental impacts from landfill waste. Additionally, recycling materials to make new products reduces energy use and manufacturing costs, compared to using raw materials.

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VW and Chinese BYD Partner on Electric Vehicles

Companies sign memorandum of understanding to explore lithium ion batteries and vehicles.

by on May.26, 2009

BYD showed a prototype plug-in hybrid electric vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit during January of 2008.

BYD showed a prototype plug-in hybrid electric vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit during January of 2008.

Senior executives at Volkswagen AG and privately-held BYD have signed a memorandum of agreement to “explore the options for partnership in the area of hybrids and electric vehicles powered by lithium batteries.”

BYD, short for Build Your Dreams, showed a prototype plug-in hybrid electric vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit during January of 2008. The company claimed at that time that the complicated series and parallel hybrid drive system would add about $6000 in cost to one of its small sedans. The fledgling Chinese automaker is a major international supplier of rechargeable batteries for cell phones, computers, digital cameras, and personal electronics. U.S. based Berkshire Hathaway has taken a small, 10%, position in the company.

The VW link-up came after a visit by a delegation from the Chinese automaker headed by BYD’s Chairman of the Board of Management, Wang Chuanfu to VW’s Elektrotraktion Technology Center in Isenbüttel, Germany.

Wang and Dr Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen, signed the formal proposal after technical discussions and test drives of a variety of vehicles such as the Golf twinDrive and the prototype for an electric vehicle.

“Volkswagen will consistently expand its successful ‘BlueMotionTechnologies,’ said Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board for Technical Development at VW.  “Hybrids and electric vehicles will play an increasingly important role, of course. Particularly for the Chinese market, potential partners such as BYD could support us in quickly expanding our activities.” Hackenberg personally briefed the Chinese managers.

The Chinese market is closed to outside companies who do not form partnerships with Chinese makers. (more…)

Distressed Michigan Lines Up For Battery Aid

Taxpayer subsidies needed to spur electrification of autos.

by on May.22, 2009

GM pulled  the plu on EV1 in 1999 after fewer than 2300 had been leased at Saturn dealers after theee years.

GM pulled the plug on EV1 in 1999 after fewer than 2300 were leased at Saturn dealers since 1996.

The Michigan Congressional delegation is moving to lock up government money for building electric cars. Both Democrats and Republicans have joined together in pressing the U.S. Department of Energy for a large share of the $2 billion the DOE is preparing to distribute to support development of advanced batteries, electric motors and the electronic systems.

The Obama Administration and the green movement are claiming that electric cars will ultimately create jobs in the ailing auto sector as unemployment across the country continues to rise to record post war levels. This political talking point, repeated over and over again, is thus far a political promise that is not backed up by any data.

In a letter signed by all 17 members, the Michigan delegation asked U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu for special consideration.

“We are writing to express our united support for the full consideration of the applications submitted to the Department of Energy by some of the most innovative and knowledgeable firms, collaborations and individuals from Michigan, which is home to an unparalleled expertise and experience in deploying large-scale new manufacturing technologies,” the letter said.   

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” included $2 billion for grants for manufacturing of advanced batteries, electric motors and related electronics for electric vehicles. The stated purpose of this funding is to invest in vital home-grown technologies and job creation in a new industry. The electric vehicle industry needs the development of a U.S. manufacturing base for batteries, and to “accelerate development and commercialization of reliable, safe and affordable electric drive vehicle systems,” the letter said.    (more…)