Spanish automaker SEAT claims to have slashed water consumption at its Martorell factory in Barcelona 31% in the past eight years.
SEAT says it is using cutting-edge technology and more efficient processes to reuse and recycle water for manufacturing processes, especially in the paint shop and rain test booth. While producing 450,000 cars in 2018, the plant used 309 million gallons (1.17 million cu.-m) of water, the equivalent of 470 Olympic swimming pools.
However, it expects to cut water consumption a further 7% by 2025 through actions such as capturing water vapor in air-conditioning units to recycling huge amounts of wastewater.
The Martorell paint shop accounts for half of all water consumed, and savings were achieved by a process that collects excess paint spray in a treatment tank where chemicals separate the paint and water.
Once clean, the water is returned into the process and reused.
The factory’s rain test check booth uses a similar method, with all the water collected and carried to a purification circuit before being reused in the same process.
“Digitalization and new technologies are helping us make enormous progress towards a model of circular economy with more recycling and fewer emissions,” says Joan Carles Casas, plant engineering manager.