Published October 30, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
American Honda released Monday “Every Drop Counts,” the second in a series of short films covering the green initiatives of Honda associates.
At Honda, company associates are strongly encouraged to fulfill the company’s vision for reducing the company’s environmental impact and creating a more sustainable business.
The new film released this week highlights a project undertaken by associates at Honda’s Marysville, Ohio auto plant to capture and use the energy present in water falling from rooftop cooling towers.
It even involves an electric motor.
Honda says the project began as a simple drawing sketched on a notepad by a retired plant engineer. Inspired by the sketch, Honda engineers from different areas of the plant teamed up to create a unique small-scale hydro power generation system.
Honda revealed the project was built almost entirely from spare parts and materials found in the plant. The team converted an AC motor for use as an alternator to generate energy from water as it falls 35 feet to a sump.
The low-cost, low-maintenance system produces 50,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year and Honda says this offsets roughly 77,000 pounds of CO2 emissions from the consumption of grid-supplied electricity.
“Think of a miniature water wheel and you’ve got the basic premise of this system,” said Dirk Nordberg, senior staff engineer at Honda of America Mfg., Inc. and manager of the plant’s facilities and environment. “This is a great example of our associates’ ongoing effort to increase efficiency and reduce waste. Not every initiative has a huge impact, but this project demonstrates how little gains can add up to big improvements in our total efficiency. That’s the principle behind this effort.”
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The Honda Environmental Short Film Series, featured on Honda’s YouTube Channel, highlights associate-driven environmental innovation across Honda in North America. The goal of these films is to focus not only on Honda’s efforts at developing more fuel-efficient, low emissions vehicles, but also Honda associates’ efforts to reduce energy use, emissions and waste in all of the company’s operations, including in manufacturing and shipping logistics.
The series was launched in August of this year with the film, “ Paint by Numbers,” which told the story of Honda engineer Shubho Bhattacharya who developed technology to reduce energy use in the auto body-painting process at Honda manufacturing plants in North America.