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Electrolux SA aiming for climate neutral manufacturing by 2030

22nd October 2021

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Appliance manufacturer Electrolux South Africa has taken a step towards a national electricity grid-free operation, having cut the carbon footprint of its Kwikot water heater (geyser) manufacturing plant in Benoni by 40%.

The company invested R16-million to develop a 1 MW solar energy system at its factory by next month, with construction having started in July.

“We plan to be climate neutral by 2030 in all our manufacturing operations. So far, we have implemented a 112 kWp solar system for our offices in 2020 and have saved over 96 t of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions just this year. We expect that the 1 MW solar energy system will reduce our manufacturing CO2 footprint by 40%,” says Electrolux South Africa lead engineer Ughard de Clercq.

Once completed, the system will comprise 1 278 solar panels powering the factory during the day and supplying as much as 80% to 90% of the plant’s energy requirements.

“The organisation also intends exploring the possibility of purchasing renewable energy from State-owned power utility Eskom to meet its night-time electricity requirements when the parastatal is ready to offer privately produced green energy as an option,” says De Clercq.

Meanwhile, Electrolux will investigate the possibility of extending its solar system to enable it to sell power back to the electricity grid.

“If the local law and infrastructure allow it, we would want to sell the excess green electricity back into the grid. We would like to be able to make a contribution to other organisations by supplying them with green energy.”

Alongside this, Electrolux will likely also explore installing smaller solar energy systems at its geyser distribution centres across South Africa.

Over the next two to three years, the company also plans to start reducing its consumption of fossil fuels by switching from diesel to electric forklifts that can be charged by the solar-powered system.

“We are also investigating how to reduce our water consumption in the future by harvesting rainwater to reduce our environmental impact even further.”

The installation of solar energy at the local factory formed part of the company’s global strategy to achieve its Better Living 2030 goal of zero carbon emissions, partially by using renewable energy in production.

The investment follows similar solar energy systems installed at the company’s plants in China, Thailand and Australia.

“We strive not only to manufacture sustainable products such as our appliances but to manufacture them in a sustainable way. It is important to look after the environment and do our part for future generations to come,” concludes Electrolux South Africa MD Murray Crow.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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