Continental's Tire Plant in Portugal is Carbon-Neutral

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KnowESG_Continental's Tire Plant in Portugal is Carbon-Neutral
Image of the electric boiler that can generate green electricity instead of gas. Credit: Continental

Continental takes a major leap towards its goal of completely carbon-free tyre production with its new electric steam boiler at the Lousado plant in Portugal.

This mega-plant, producing 18 million tires annually, now utilises renewable electricity and self-generated solar power to create steam for vulcanisation, a vital process in tire manufacturing. Previously, natural gas fueled this process.

"In Lousado, we are demonstrating that even very large tire plants can achieve CO2-neutral production. To do so, the availability of renewable energy sources at competitive prices is crucial," explained Dr. Bernhard Trilken, Head of Manufacturing and Logistics at Continental Tires.

He said: "We are preparing all our plants so that they can use as much renewable energy as possible. The commissioning of our electric steam boiler in Lousado is the start of an exciting learning curve."

The innovative boiler efficiently converts green electricity into steam with minimal energy loss. Water travels from the boiler's base to the top, where it sprays onto electrodes. Electric current heats the water, generating steam for tire production.

Ensuring Stability and Sustainability

A traditional gas boiler remains available to supplement the electric system, ensuring flexibility during fluctuations in renewable energy availability or environmental factors.

"Our site in Lousado benefits from the fact that the sun shines frequently. This enables us to achieve fully electrified and CO2-neutral tire production process whenever possible," said Pedro Carreira, Head of the Continental Tires plant in Lousado, Portugal.

He added: "All Continental tire plants are working intensively on making production more and more sustainable and energy efficient. We each have to cope with a very wide variety of conditions, such as weather conditions or the availability of renewable energy sources."

Continental's Sustainability Leadership

Continental Tires is an industry leader in energy efficiency, consuming less energy per tire produced compared to the global average. Through internal benchmarking and energy-saving projects like thermal insulation, the company reduced its annual energy requirements by 150 gigawatt hours in 2023 alone. This equates to the electricity used by roughly 12,500 homes annually.

By 2030, Continental aims to achieve a 20% reduction in energy consumption compared to 2018. The company is committed to climate-neutral production by 2040, already sourcing 100% renewable electricity globally since 2020. This is achieved through guarantees of origin complying with the RE100 Initiative's standards.

Lousado: A Legacy of Innovation Continues

The Lousado plant not only produces the company's most sustainable tire series, the UltraContact NXT, but also manufactures tires for various vehicles, including cars, agricultural machinery, and off-road vehicles. With over 30 years of experience in Portugal, Continental remains a trusted partner, valuing its heritage while driving innovation in both tire manufacturing and automotive technology.

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Source: Continental

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