Some ZF locations do not just use power, they also produce it themselves. For example, the Group is focusing on combined heat and power plants (CHPs) in which special gas engines use heat to generate electrical energy. These low-emission systems achieve an energy conversion efficiency of up to 90 percent. CHPs are far more efficient and cheaper than sourcing electricity and heat from different power stations. The cost of this energy generated in-house is also lower than the market price charged by external electricity providers. In total, ZF currently operates six CHPs in Europe, with the two largest located at the Group's headquarters in Friedrichshafen. Each year, all CHPs produce 42 gigawatt hours of power – this is around as much as is consumed by just under 10,000 four-person households per year. Compared with conventional energy supply, the CHPs contribute to reducing the annual emission of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by an estimated 42,000 tons.
However, using CHPs everywhere would not be sensible, as they require thermal heat to operate efficiently. Other additional sources of power are therefore of interest at many international Group locations, such as Pune, India. Recently, huge solar panels have been installed there. These have an output of around 200 kilowatts, which, when calculated for the year, comes to around 290 megawatt hours of power for production. In comparison to conventional power generation, this saves 250 tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted every year.
Even such supposedly minor effects are important for the Group. They show that at ZF, many activities worldwide are contributing to a greater goal: sustainable handling of energy.