Audi plans to cut water consumption in production in half by 2035

By CARSIFU | 23 March 2021

INGOLSTADT: Audi says it plans to keep its own water consumption to a minimum and stop using drinking water in vehicle production in the future.

Its target is to cut water consumption in production in half by 2035

To this end, Audi is implementing efficient processes and closed water cycles, and increasing the use of rainwater. In the long term, Audi plans to implement closed water cycles at all production locations.

Drinking water is a valuable and scarce resource: 2.2 billion people worldwide do not have regular access to clean water.

The United Nations estimates that the demand for drinking water may increase by 55 percent by 2050.

Water is also essential in automotive production, for example in the paint shop or for leak tests.

In order to prioritise water conservation measures in a targeted manner, Audi uses a site-specific water value that puts the water withdrawal at the locations in relation to regional availability.

Audi plans to cut water consumption in production in half by 203

Taking the regional circumstances into account allows measures to be implemented in areas where water is particularly valuable. This way, the ecologically weighted water consumption in production is to be reduced from the current average of around 3.75 cubic meters to around 1.75 cubic meters per produced car by 2035.

Audi México is a pioneer when it comes to the economic use of water as a resource.

The plant is the first production site worldwide to produce vehicles without any wastewater and has been doing so since 2018.

A biological treatment facility with a downstream ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis system collects the wastewater generated in production, purifies it, and feeds large quantities back into the plant’s water cycle.

The location uses the treated water as service water, reuses it in production, or uses it to water the green spaces on the plant premises, for example.

At the Neckarsulm site, a closed water cycle is to be established between the plant and the neighbouring municipal treatment facility of the Unteres Sulmtal wastewater association.

Before the cycle and the associated construction of a new water supply facility can start, Audi is testing the procedure with a pilot facility.

If the tests are successful, construction of the new water supply facility is to start in 2022, and the plant is to close this water cycle from 2025.

A new service water supply center has been in use at the Ingolstadt site since 2019. Together with the previous treatment system, roughly half of the wastewater generated at the location can be fed into a circuit where it is treated and prepared for reuse.

Audi also uses rainwater retention basins at multiple sites in order to cover its own water demand in the most resource-saving way possible. They include Audi México and its base here.

The use of rainwater is also to be increased at the other locations over the next few years.