GM Orion Assembly Plant to get 40 percent power from landfill gas

When production of the fuel-efficient 2012 Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano begin this fall, 40 percent of the energy to power the General Motors Orion Assembly Plant where they are built will come from burning landfill gas created nearby.

According to the General Motors (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) news release, the use of the landfill gas will save GM $1.1 million a year in energy costs. Furthermore, it cuts the amount of greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides released in the air.

During most of the year, the system run exclusively on landfill gas primarily to generate steam for heating and compressed air.

“Orion is a great example of the latest technologies employed by GM manufacturing around the globe,” said Eric Stevens, GM vice president of Global Manufacturing Engineering. “As we converted the facility to support the small car program, we took every opportunity to engineer in flexibility and lean manufacturing concepts.”

Use of landfill gas is just one of the sustainable methods that lessen the plant’s environmental impact. Others include:

1) Lighting system upgrades that saved more than 5,944 megawatts of electricity per year and $430,000 while also cutting CO2 by 3,676 metric tons. Plant workers track energy use on an hourly basis with sophisticated software, enabling them to see real-time usage by department to improve their equipment shut-down activities.

2) Plant workers reduced total waste by 26 percent from 2005 to 2009.

http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/May/0519_orion

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