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ZF's climate neutral Plant in Klasterec ZF's climate neutral Plant in Klasterec

Clean Factory of the Future – Now a Reality

Increasing greenhouse gas emissions require decisive action. All ZF plants worldwide will therefore be climate-neutral by 2040. This transformation of an existing factory in Klášterec, Czech Republic, has just been completed.

Author: Frank Thoma, 2024-02-29

It's a tragedy. The World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, published in November 2023, reports that the amount of heat-retaining greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record in 2022. An end to this development is nowhere in sight, according to the report. The global average concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most important greenhouse gas, were for the first time 50 percent higher in 2022 than in the pre-industrial era. In 2023, they continued to rise, says WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas. "Despite decades of warnings from the scientific community, thousands of pages of reports and dozens of climate conferences, we are still heading in the wrong direction," the scientist warns, adding: "We urgently need to reduce fossil fuel use."

Increase in CO2 requires immediate Action

After all, burning oil, coal and gas to generate electricity and heat is the biggest contributor to global warming. In early December 2023, the scientists of the Global Carbon Projects reported that carbon dioxide emissions from the use of fossil fuels will reach the incredible figure of 36.8 billion tons worldwide in 2023, an increase of 1.1 percentage points year-on-year. If people fail to reverse this trend swiftly, the climate goals of the Paris Agreement will be unattainable – with disastrous consequences.
To stop this ominous trend, ZF is also working on its contribution to climate protection. Worldwide. By 2040, the company will be climate-neutral along the entire value chain. The technology company is embracing sustainably generated energy for its plants at all locations, increasing the energy efficiency of its processes, electrifying a large part of its products, and using recycled materials. A Herculean task. “The e-mobility plant in Klášterec, Czech Republic, already fulfills the group’s goal of only using green electricity from 2025 onwards,” says Dhana Kad, Head of Sustainability at ZF’s Electrified Powertrain Technology Division.

Successful conversion to a climate-neutral Plant

The Klášterec plant manufactures products for electromobility. After careful preparation, the transformation into a climate-neutral factory was achieved in under a year and a half. A proven starting point for the technical measures was the supply of self-produced solar power to the plant. This power is now produced by 3,400 solar modules on the roofs and on a grassy area alongside the hall complex. The plant covers 20 percent of its annual electricity demand in this way. The purchased electricity comes from renewable sources. The plant's heating system also manages without fossil fuels. Heat pumps replace the previous gas heating. In summer, the plant uses the natural ambient cold (free cooling) to air-condition the rooms. Various measures for improved thermal insulation and heat recovery round off this local climate concept that serves as a global model.

Heatpumps in the Klasterec plant

Heat pumps on the roof use the ambient air as a source for heating and cooling. Unlike gas boilers, they do not generate any climate-damaging emissions.