Volvo Announces its First Climate-neutral Car Plant

A Volvo XC90 SUV rolls down the assembly line at the automaker's Torslanda, Sweden, factory. It is Volvo's first climate-neutral vehicle manufacturing facility. (Volvo Car USA)

Volvo has announced that its Torslanda manufacturing plant is fully climate neutral. Located just outside of Gothenburg, Sweden, and inaugurated in 1964, Volvo’s oldest and most prolific car factory churns out 300,000 vehicles per year. Volvo previously achieved climate neutrality at its Skövde engine plant in January of 2018, but Torslanda is the first Volvo vehicle manufacturing facility to reach this goal.

Volvo counts a manufacturing facility as climate neutral when “it registers no net increase in the emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere as a result of the electricity and heating used by the plant.” Climate neutrality is different from carbon neutrality. According to the CLEAR Center at the University of California Davis, climate neutrality “refers to the emission and mitigation of all greenhouse gases – not just carbon.”

The Torslanda factory has been using climate-neutral electricity since 2008, and now its heating system is also climate neutral. Volvo sources half of the heating from biogas, which is carbon dioxide and methane fuel produced by the fermentation of organic matter, while deriving the other half from heat recovery from industrial waste. This method includes capturing exhaust gases, liquids, and streams of air that would otherwise disperse into the environment.

Volvo is continually lowering the amount of energy used at this plant, most recently registering a 7,000 megawatt-hour (MWh) decrease in 2020. That’s equivalent to the power consumed by 450 Swedish residences. The automaker targets an additional annual 20,000 MWh reduction by 2023, and by 2025 expects to reduce the per-vehicle energy usage in its entire manufacturing operations by a claimed 30%.

The Torslanda plant is the opening salvo in Volvo’s plan to make its entire global manufacturing operations climate neutral by 2025. Additionally, Volvo is orchestrating a complete transformation across all of its operations and throughout a car’s life cycle to achieve full climate neutrality by 2040.

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