Climate protection measures at Voith

Climate neutrality: Reaching the goal with a large number of small steps

Since January 1, 2022, operations at all Voith Group locations around the world have been net climate-neutral. This achievement was made possible by a comprehensive overall plan incorporating modern management methods, an abundance of effective individual projects, and the dedication of the global Voith team.

Voith creates visionary design study for the paper production line of the future
The plan for reaching climate neutrality

Before the most effective decarbonization measures could be identified, the actual energy consumption of the Group had to be precisely analyzed. The three Group divisions of Voith Hydro, Voith Paper and Voith Turbo operate in different sectors and thus have greatly diverging consumption profiles.

Solutions and recipes cannot simply be transferred from one division to another – each division must be considered separately. In order to achieve a massive reduction in carbon footprint, it was therefore necessary to set a variety of measures in motion. These measures were globally organized, coordinated and controlled – for more than 20,000 employees in more than 60 countries. Progress was to be documented using measurable and comparable data and pass an independent assessment with a neutral rating. 

Voith creates visionary design study for the paper production line of the future
Reaching the goal via a clear strategy

For the implementation, the company took an ecological business management (EBM) approach with a green controlling process borrowing from financial controlling.

The interdivisional EBM team defined main areas of focus to concentrate on the respective strongest drivers of consumption. Buildings, machine tools, test rigs and processes for production of fabrics and felts for papermaking are a few examples. At each location, the EBM teams or the employees in charge set to work finding suitable projects for implementing the measures.

Voith creates visionary design study for the paper production line of the future
Energy efficiency – Finding hidden potential

Even before committing to net climate-neutral production, Voith continuously took measures to reduce its energy consumption within the framework of its activities for achieving its sustainability targets.

These measures have resulted in a nearly 30% reduction since fiscal 2011-2012. Voith wants to continue along this path and slash energy consumption again, namely, by another 12.5% by fiscal 2026/2027.

Voith creates visionary design study for the paper production line of the future
On the way to energy self-sufficiency

Another measure is in-house generation of energy. The Voith locations mainly harness potential from the sun in order to use energy more efficiently.

Voith currently gets about 8 GWh of electricity a year from solar and hydroelectric power sources. This value is expected to double to 16 GWh by fiscal 2026/2027.

Immer mehr erneuerbare Quellen nutzen
Using more renewable sources

If the electricity consumption is covered by renewable energy sources, this also has a positive effect on the carbon footprint.

In order to make this happen, Voith first had to change the electricity contracts. The company increased the share of renewable energies in its electricity mix to around 80% in fiscal 2021/2022 from 38% in the previous fiscal year. In the coming years, the electricity needs of Voith plants around the world should be met by nearly 100% renewable sources.

Immer weniger kompensieren
Less offsetting

Despite the numerous initiatives and measures taken or being taken, Voith still cannot completely do without energy from fossil fuels. Depending on the region concerned, regulatory, economic or technical hurdles have made it impossible up to now.

To compensate for this, Voith supports offsetting measures – and only those offsetting measures that meet recognized international standards. Voith purchases certificates that support projects for generating energy from renewable sources – currently, projects involving hydropower. We are striving to reduce our use of these measures as quickly as possible. Central to reaching this is the achievement of a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions by the end of 2049/2050 from the level in 2016/2017 in relation to value-added.

Weitere Schritte folgen
Further steps to come

Making Voith Group net climate-neutral already in 2022 was a huge challenge. You don’t reach lofty targets by taking one great leap; you get there by taking many small steps.

In reaching the net climate target, Voith passed an important milestone in the decarbonization of the Group and its customers – and will continue to advance unceasingly, taking one small step at a time.

Use of solar energy at the Voith site in Kunshan, China
Use of solar energy at the Voith site in Kunshan, China

Ideas and dedication of the Voith employees at the locations worldwide

Shanghai, China

Energy savings

Colleagues in Shanghai, China, for example, discovered that by making a few changes to the compressors, they could save a huge amount of energy. If the compressor ran at a fixed frequency, it consumed 111,220 kWh of electricity a month. Once the team added an inverter to convert to variable-frequency operation, the consumption dropped to just 51,970 kWh a month – less than half the original value. The team also saves energy by turning off the compressor during breaks. This has resulted in annual savings of 110,000 kWh so far.

Appleton, USA

Reduction of energy consumption

The team in Appleton, USA, took a different route to improving the energy consumption. By switching to LED lighting – first on the production floor, then outside and finally in the offices. Through all these measures, the team achieved a total reduction of 760,000 kWh, or around 20% of the annual electricity consumption at the Appleton location.

Crailsheim, Germany

Using waste heat

Is it also possible to use the waste heat from the machines to lower the energy consumption? Our colleagues in Crailsheim, Germany, asked themselves this question and took a closer look at the air and cooling compressors used. When air is compressed, a lot of heat is generated – and this heat has to be removed or else the compressor will overheat. The team doesn’t just let this heat get away, but instead uses it to heat a building in the winter and generate hot water for the break rooms in the summer. This measure yielded annual energy savings of 225,000 kWh, corresponding to about 58 metric tons of CO2.

Shanghai, China

Energy production

The Voith team in Shanghai heats shower water via solar collectors on the roof of the plant building, thereby saving 271,222 kWh in energy, or 133 metric tons of CO2, annually. The energy production at another plant in Shanghai goes even further: The photovoltaic system on the roof generates some 2,000,000 kWh of electricity a year. Once it has reached the end of its service life in around 25 years, it will have contributed to avoiding approx. 49,500 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

Garching, Germany

Geothermal district heating

A project realized by our colleagues at the location in Garching, Germany, is a good example of the conversion to renewable energy sources. The topic here was district heating. Converting the heating supply to geothermal district heating saved 560,000 kWh a year, or about 1,000 t CO2.

Voith is already operating net-climate neutrally today.
Voith is already operating net-climate neutrally today.

Our DNA: Sustainable technologies for future generations

Provable contributions to a sustainable development
Provable contributions to a sustainable development

As a family-owned company we are committed to environmentally friendly, fair, long-term business practices. Furthermore, we intend to create measurable added value for the sustainable development of our company, society, and the environment. The goal we set ourselves regarding the way we conduct business is also correspondingly high: We want to make Voith the benchmark in sustainability issues.

Learn more more about sustainability at Voith
Net Zero – decarbonization of the industry
Net Zero – decarbonization of the industry

Carbon emissions are the leading cause of climate change, creating an imperative to reduce them drastically all over the world. Industry plays a key role in the drive for decarbonization, because industrial companies have the third largest carbon footprint in the world after the energy sector and farming.

Learn more about our path to Net Zero