Paint shops must become “greener” to help vehicle manufacturers feel certain about meeting their ambitious climate targets, writes Team ACI.

Assessing a technology’s sustainability is a complex task. In a comprehensive life cycle analysis, the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP) studied the carbon footprint of two different paint shop concepts. The result: Dürr’s paint shop with the EcoQPower system, which networks all energy flows to supply all process steps, reduces carbon emissions by 19.2 per cent over its entire life cycle compared to paint shops without this system. This is mainly due to an energy consumption reduction of about 21 per cent in the utilisation phase, making it the first paint shop to comply with EU Taxonomy requirements.

Paint shops consume the most energy throughout the entire vehicle manufacturing process since applying paint and drying car bodies are very energy-intensive. Consequently, modern paint shops’ carbon footprints are still significant despite technical progress. “The EU wants to be climate neutral by 2050. We had this target in mind when we adopted a new strategy on the path to a carbon-neutral paint shop from an energy perspective. Instead of continuously increasing the energy efficiency of individual elements such as paint booths and ovens, as we did before, we developed the EcoQPower system, which considers all paint shop energy sources and network components, as well as energy flows,” explained Jens Oliver Reiner, Senior Vice President Sales in the Paint and Final Assembly division at Dürr. The new concept analyses energy sources and energy sinks in operation, considering various operating states and historic climate data. Based on this analysis, the  EcoQPower energy network systematically recovers energy in one place, which can then be reused elsewhere.

Significant carbon footprint reduction

Sustainability is often promised, but these promises frequently turn out to be nothing more than green washing. Dürr partnered with the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics to prove that the first paint shop optimised with EcoQPower being built for a German vehicle manufacturer emits fewer greenhouse gases than a paint shop without the energy network system. The scientists analysed the effects on the carbon footprint by simulating and calculating the values for two identical, all-electric factories in the same location and with the same performance data – one with and one without an EcoQPower system.

In keeping with the circular economy, the entire life cycle from paint shop production, including the transportation of materials to the utilisation phase and the end of life, was analysed. The Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics’ the study found that the EcoQPower system reduces the carbon footprint by 19.2 per cent over this entire period. Since 91 per cent of emissions are produced in the utilization phase, EcoQPower enables paint shop operators to run a more climate-friendly business. The investment also pays off in terms of sustainability,  with Dürr’s energy consumption analysis confirming that EcoQPower reduces  utilisation phase energy consumption by 20.6 per cent, making the optimised  paint shop about 21 per cent more energy efficient than a modern standard system. As a result, operators can reduce their energy costs by seven figures over the assumed utilisation period of 15 years and 110,000 painted car bodies per year.

No more unused energy with EcoQPower 

EcoQPower is based on the concept that each manufacturing area only receives the appropriate energy and temperature level it needs. In a standard paint shop, all process steps, such as pretreatment, the oven, and the paint booth, have been viewed and supplied as individual components until now. For example, excess energy from the drying process that could be applied elsewhere is released unused into the environment. By considering the entire scope, the EcoQPower system delivers real benefits by integrating all waste heat sources, including those not previously used, and reuses energy at low temperatures. Heat pumps generate heating and cooling energy simultaneously, which is possible because Dürr’s experts measure each paint shop process step’s heating and cooling requirements using proprietary software. With this knowledge, they leverage synergies from the processes and  – in combination with resource-saving technology – enable economical energy use.

EU Taxonomy defines standards for sustainable projects

The EU Taxonomy is an instrument developed under the Green Deal, with the political objective of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. By providing a transparent classification of sustainable investments, the regulation aims to ensure that financial resources fund projects that support climate and environmental protection. “Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for companies in the manufacturing sector. We help our customers make their production processes as energy-efficient as possible to achieve their decarbonisation targets. We know that companies engaged in sustainable production will have more and more advantages in the long term for sourcing funding in Europe,” explains Reiner.

The Dürr Group is one of the world’s leading mechanical and plant engineering firms with particular expertise in the technology fields of automation, digitalization, and energy efficiency. Its products, systems, and services enable highly efficient and sustainable manufacturing processes  – mainly in the automotive industry and for producers of furniture and timber houses, but also in sectors such as the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, medical devices, electrical engineering, and battery production. In 2023, the company generated sales of Euro 4.6 Bn. The  Dürr Group has around 20,500 employees and 142 business locations in 32 countries, and it operates in the market with five divisions. ACI



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AlphaOmega Captcha Medica  –  What Do You See?


* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *