Japan: Natural gas and geothermal energy instead of electricity
At our site in Japan, we're working toward reducing dependence on electricity. After the devastating tsunami destroyed the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 and caused a nation-wide power shortage, we completely realigned our energy concept in Japan.
At our research and development center in Atsugi, electricity is the primary energy carrier. In the first step toward independence, we tested out the use of geothermal energy to generate heat and cold. The site is now operating 68 geothermal heat exchangers with a thermal capacity of 270 kW, making it one of the largest geothermal plants in Japan. Through this shift, we've lowered our primary energy consumption by roughly 10%, which represents an approximately 300 metric ton reduction in annual CO2 emissions.
Our plant in Onahama, Japan manufactures effect pigments (Xirallic) for high-quality automotive coatings. This facility is one of the five largest CO2 producers of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. In 2015, we instituted two measures to cut down CO2 emissions there. First, in January 2016 we started using natural gas to meet all the site's energy needs. Second, in the course of 2016 we plan to replace the old boilers for steam production with new ones. These two efforts combined will save roughly 3,200 metric tons of CO2 per year at the Onahama site and are viewed throughout the country as a best practice.