Car giant cuts 21m litres of water

Motor company Nissan is expected to save more than 20m litres of water in the paint shop of its Barcelona factory after installing a new water recycling process.

Changes to the way vehicles are painted reduced water consumption at the Spanish plant by 20% last year.

The improvement is part of the Nissan Green Programme 2010 to reduce the company’s impact on the environment.

In the past, water used to wash the new vehicles before painting was pumped to a purifying installation after use, and then sent to the city’s main sewerage system.

Water used to wash almost 900 new motors a day is now filtered on site and immediately re-used, reducing the amount sent to be purified by 4,000 litres an hour.

The system also reduces energy use and lowers the amount of sediment build up by about 79 tonnes a year.

Since 1998, the Barcelona plant – one of three factories in Spain – has reduced water consumption by more than 50%.

The European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E) praised Nissan’s efforts to save water, but said the company still had a long way to go to improve its environmental performance.

Campaigner Aat Peterse said: “We would also look at other aspects of their performance, for instance how they have fared in their efforts to reduce the average CO2 emissions of their products. There, it’s sad to say, they have not done very well.”

He added: “Although of course every little bit helps, and saving water in Spain – considering the drought they have had over the last few years – is a very good thing, they must also look at what their products are doing.”

A T&E report published last autumn charting car manufacturers’ efforts to reduce CO2 emissions of new cars ranked Nissan among the worst performers.

Kate Martin

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