GM's Orion Plant Powered by Landfill Gas

This year, perhaps more than ever before, we've seen an avalanche of announcements from American manufacturers centered not on the cars they make, but on where the energy used in making them comes from. As if, through some miracle, the process of manufacturing has become more important than the resulting product for the public, GM and Ford (Chrysler in a lesser degree) have engaged in a battle of green power sources.

This week, after Ford announced plans to make its operations in Europe as green as possible, GM fights back by letting us behind the curtain of the Orion Assembly Plant and allowing us to see where a great deal of the energy used to produce the future Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano is coming from: a landfill.

Having an erected landfill gas burning facility nearby has allowed GM to slowly shift the energy consumption of the plant from the power grid to the burning station, which by this fall will provide up to 40 percent of the energy needed to keep the lines running. By doing so, GM will also save $1.1 million a year in energy costs.

Environmentally friendly choices often translate to higher efficiency and quality,” said Maureen Midgley, GM executive director of Global Manufacturing Engineering. “Take our new paint shop – it was designed for optimal efficiency and delivers premium paint appearance for our vehicles.”

“With these improvements, we’ll reduce greenhouse gas production by about 80,000 metric tons at a full three-shift capacity,”
Midgley said. “This is equivalent to the emissions from 14,000 vehicles per year, and the electricity reduction equals at the output from 3,500 homes.”
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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