Associates Find New Ways To Decrease Emissions At Honda Facilities
The reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions is at the forefront of Honda’s environmental strategy, and figures prominently in the targets that are set for its products and operations.
GHG reduction and primarily CO2, is a major component of Honda’s short- and long-term environmental goals. As a result, associates throughout the company focus on those goals at every level.
“If we don’t reduce CO2 nothing else we do matters from an environmental standpoint,” said Raminta Jautokas, environmental manager, American Honda. “It takes effort from associates in the plants to really make a difference. We are exploring many different methods, trying to find ways to mitigate our energy usage and increasing efficiency throughout the company.”
Honda realizes that fuel burned during a product’s use and the generation of electricity used to create those products are among the primary sources of CO2. Therefore, efforts to increase fuel efficiency and reduce energy consumption are key aspects of the company’s environmental strategy.
“We work every day on these issues such as fuel efficiency,” said Ryan Harty, head of Honda’s Environmental Business Development Office. “But there’s much more automakers can do beyond fuel efficiency to reduce our environmental impact by adopting energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout our operations.”
Associates throughout Honda’s North American facilities help the company’s environmental cause in a myriad of ways, with ideas and innovations that range from using the sunlight in facilities to squeezing oil out of metal shavings.
Honda Transmission Mfg. of America in Russells Point, Ohio and the Anna (Ohio) Engine Plant worked jointly to develop a process that eliminated nearly 900 metric tons of CO2 per year – which is the equivalent of the emissions produced by 138 cars over a year – and did so simply by squeezing.
The fine grinding processes used at both plants left behind metal shavings that were coated with oil. The plants had sent these shavings to a recycler where they first had to burn the oil off the shavings before they recycled the metal, which created CO2. The plants used a machine that squeezed the oil out of the shavings before sending them to the recycler, not only allowing them to recycle 85,000 gallons of the special grinding oil, but eliminating the need for it to be burned off at the plant.
Honda’s plant in Guadalajara, Mexico was incurring high energy usage and getting poor results from their fluorescent lighting system, which led an associate to research the use of prismatic domes mounted in the plant ceilings. These domes amplified the sunlight to the plant floor, allowing for a 42-percent reduction in energy use and a 97-percent reduction in CO2.
Associates at Honda Mfg. of Alabama discovered that a furnace gas generator used for the heat treatment of crankshafts was producing more gas than was needed for the process, and the excess gas was being burned off, creating CO2 emissions. By changing the generator to an injector gas mixing system, associates were able to control the amount of gas created, and eliminate 118 metric tons of CO2.
Overall in FY2016, these and other efforts contributed to a 10% reduction in the emissions intensity from auto production, 4% from powersports and 8% in power equipment.