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Volvo’s Swedish bus plant powered by renewable energy, including biofuels

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Volvo has announced that its bus plant in Borås, Sweden has become one of the first bus production facilities in the world to be powered solely by renewable energy, including hydropower and biofuels.

Overall energy consumption at the factory has been reduced by 15% in the past few years, the car and bus manufacturer added. Since the plant now relies completely on renewable energy to power its operations, it has been certified by Volvo as a ‘Renewable Energy Facility’.

“We are of course very proud that we have reduced our climate impact by only using renewable sources and all the energy we purchase is fossil-free,” explained Joakim Wretman, production manager at Volvo’s Borås plant. “The electricity comes from hydropower, our district heating is provided by biofuels, and the fork-lift trucks in the factory run on electricity or HVO [hydrotreated vegetable oil], which is a renewable fuel.”

The facility has implemented a number of measures over the past few years, which has resulted in a 15% energy consumption reduction. “For instance, we have replaced conventional fluorescent bulbs with LED light fittings and the manufacturing plant’s lighting is regulated automatically so it is only active during actual production,” Wretman continued.

“We also ensure that no electricity-consuming equipment remains switched on when it is not needed. We have noted immense enthusiasm on the part of all our employees, and our local partner has contributed both know-how and practical solutions.”

A key element of Volvo Buses’ environment strategy is reducing the climate impact of its production processes.

“We regard our products in a lifecycle perspective and work tirelessly to reduce our environmental impact at every stage, from production, to daily operation, reuse and recycling,” noted Andreas Carlén, energy efficiency and environment director at Volvo Buses. “Up-to-date examples are our ongoing projects for repurposing our electric bus batteries, which can now enjoy a second life as energy storage units in homes.”

The bus manufacturing facility in Borås has a capacity of around 10,000 bus chassis every year, employing around 300 people.