Ford Reduces Water Use

When most automakers talk about the “environment” and “fluids,” the liquids in question tend to be of the combustible variety.

When most automakers talk about the “environment” and “fluids,” the liquids in question tend to be of the combustible variety.

Ford has recently pointed out that it is also addressing the environment through a fluid that isn’t in the least bit combustible: water.

Specifically, it is reducing the amount of water that is used in its factories to produce vehicles.

It has set a goal to cut the amount of water used to produce a car by 30% by 2015 compared to what it was using in 2009.

And it should be noted that in 2009 it was using a heck of a lot less water than it had been in 2000, because between 2000 and 2010 it reduced its global water use by 62%, which equates to 10.5-billion gallons of water.

Or the amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in 3.8 hours (according to the EPA).

The new goal means that it will reduce the amount of water used to produce a car from 2,510 gallons (2009 quantity) to 925 gallons (2015 goal).

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2012 Ford Fiesta: Assembled in Hermosillo

Part of the water use reduction is via things like using a membrane biological reactor—a means to treat water. They’ve been using one of these at its Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly plant (Ford Fusion, Ford Fiesta, Lincoln MKZ). The production at the plant doubled between 2000 and 2010. Its water use dropped 40%.

In addition to water recycling, they’re using less water in their machining operations.

In its Livonia Transmission Plant, Van Dyke Transmission Plant, and Romeo Engine Plant “dry machining” is being used. This means that rather than flooding the powertrain components being cut into shape with gallons and gallons of water and coolant, there is a small amount of oil sprayed directly on the tip of the cutting tool.

Ford calculates that for a typical line producing 450,000 units, dry machining saves 280,000 gallons of water.