Renewable Energy

Ford is actively involved in the installation, demonstration and development of alternative sources of energy.

Ford’s Dagenham Diesel Engine Assembly line in the UK was the first automotive plant in the world to obtain all of its electrical power needs from two on-site wind turbines, which have been in operation since 2004. A third two-megawatt wind turbine was installed in 2011.

A few miles from Dagenham, Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre is also powered by electricity from renewable sources. Since March 2009, electric power on the 270-acre site, which is home to a team of approximately 3,000 engineers, has been purchased from 100 percent renewable sources. The majority of the electricity, supplied by GDF, is sourced from a combination of hydro, wind and waste-to-energy generation, and replaces energy from traditional sources that would have produced an estimated 35,000 metric tons of carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions annually.

Since 2008, we have been sourcing renewable electricity to cover the full electric-power demand of our manufacturing and engineering facilities at our Cologne plant in Germany. This includes the electricity needed for the assembly of the Ford Fiesta models at the plant. Through this initiative, the Company has reduced its CO2 emissions by 190,000 metric tons per year.

In Wales, Ford’s Bridgend Engine Plant was the first site retrofitted with one of the largest integrated, grid-connected solar/photovoltaic installations at a car manufacturing plant in Europe.

In North America, examples of installed renewable-energy technologies include a photovoltaic array and solar thermal collector at the Ford Rouge Visitors Center. The adjacent Dearborn Truck Plant has a “living roof” system, which uses a thick carpet of plants to reduce the need for heating and cooling, while also absorbing rainwater. At the Lima Engine Plant in Lima, Ohio, a geothermal system provides process cooling for plant operations as well as air tempering for employee comfort. This system uses naturally cooled 40°F water from two abandoned limestone quarries located on the plant site. The installation cost was comparable to that of the traditional chiller and cooling tower design that it replaced. This award-winning project eliminates the emission of 4,300 metric tons of CO2 each year. At our Michigan Assembly Plant we partnered with DTE Energy and the state of Michigan to build a solar photovoltaic array to provide power to the plant and to build an energy storage system to store energy produced by the solar array until it is needed. The energy is stored in a large battery system that in turn recharges electric material-handling vehicles used on site. These vehicles were converted from diesel engines to electric vehicles to move parts between buildings at the site. The Michigan Assembly Plant also uses methane released from decaying trash at a nearby landfill to heat one of the buildings on site, which reduces emissions of this potent greenhouse gas. In 2012, we installed a solar-powered trash compactor at our Michigan Proving Grounds in Romeo, Michigan, which compresses waste more efficiently than the previous one. The resulting compacted waste is sent to an incinerator where it is converted into power for local residents. Please see the Waste section for more information on this technology.

In India, we have been using solar thermal heating at the Chennai plant to heat water for cooking in the main cafeteria since 2011. Using this system, sterilized water is pumped through thermal solar panels and then taken to the cafeteria for cooking at approximately 50°C higher than water that was previously used in cooking boilers. This system has reduced boiler diesel consumption by approximately 420 liters per day. The system is expected to pay itself back in four years.


Download Summary Report

Ford’s 2012/13 Sustainability Report is summarized in this 8-page downloadable document.

Visit our Downloads page for this report in full or as separate sections along with supplementary publications.