Pirelli & C.

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Green factory

Work on creation of the technological and production centre at Settimo Torinese for production of “green performance” tyres continued in 2009, as part of the process to improve efficiency and productivity standards. This project is being carried out as part of a framework agreement between Pirelli Tyre and the Region of Piedmont, Province of Turin and the City of Settimo Torinese.

This will be a state-of-the-art industrial centre, the Group’s most advanced in terms of technology and efficiency.

The most advanced production technologies developed by Pirelli research will be used and, perfectly in line with its sustainable development strategy, appropriate measures will be taken to limit environmental impact and resource consumption as much as possible. All of this will be done within the framework of eco-compatible architecture and design.

Energy saving and renewable energy exploitation initiatives

In order to limit the environmental impact of the Settimo Torinese as much as possible, all of its subsystems have been conceived and designed for the most rational use of energy from fossil fuels and encourage maximum use of solar energy through the study of highly innovative and efficient systems.

The following technologies are used, among others:

  • double recovery flow air treatment unit, capable of maximising the recover of heat in the served spaces;
  • adiabatic cooling units, capable of limiting the ambient temperature of the hottest parts of the plant (e.g. those near curing machines) within acceptable limits, even during summertime, exclusively by using modest quantities of running water;
  • high efficiency heat regenerators installed in every department;
  • use of solar panels for the production of hot tap water equipped with special thermostat valves capable of preventing overheating and consequent waste of water necessary for cooling;
  • feasibility study of an approximately 1MWp photovoltaic field;
  • feasibility study for the use of solar panels to cool offices in summertime by using an innovative solar cooling technology.

Study for installation of a photovoltaic solar field

The construction of an approximately 1 MWp photovoltaic plant would result in major energy savings for the served facility. Use of this technology is based on the need to combine:

  • compatibility with architectural and environmental protection requirements;
  • the absence of noise pollution;
  • fossil fuel savings;
  • generation of electric power without causing pollution.

The system that is currently being studied would generate about 1,000,000 kWh of electricity a year, with a savings of about 194 TEP (tons of equivalent petroleum).

Finally, the estimate of potentially avoidable pollution emissions can be summarised as follows:

Estimate of potentially avoidable air pollution CO2 SO2 NOX PARTICULATE
Specific air pollution [g/kWh] 496.0 0.670 0.523 0.024
Emissions avoided in one year [kg] ≈ 516,000 ≈ 700 ≈ 550 ≈ 25
Emissions avoided over 20 years [kg] ≈ 9,500,000 ≈ 13,000 ≈ 10,000 ≈ 460
Data source: ENEL 2007 Environmental Report

Production of hot tap water

To comply with the most recent energy saving regulations, plans call for installation of a system of solar panels capable of producing 60% of total hot tap water requirements for the plant.

Estimating annual consumption of about 6,750,000 litres of hot water, it is estimated that about 25,000 Nm3 methane gas will be saved, or 52,800 kg of CO2 every year.

The use of a special, innovative technology named “Heat Pipe” will prevent overheating of the water stored in tanks even if the plant is not used (e.g. during summertime plant shutdowns). Unlike traditional systems, the heat transfer fluid contained in the solar panels is blocked by a special valve that prevents the heat from being transmitted to the water in the solar panel. This improvement makes it unnecessary (extremely frequent in plants of this type) to dump accumulations of excessively hot water and then replenish it from the public water supply.

Solar cooling system

A cutting edge project is currently under study for the production of cold fluid (at a temperature of 7-10 °C , and thus usable for summertime air conditioning) by using solar panels and heat absorption refrigerator units. This system is called “solar-cooling.”

It is obvious that machines that permit the transformation of solar heat into a source of cooling represents an effective method of exploiting renewable energy (the greatest need for cooling coincides with the period of greatest sun exposure, and thus at the systems highest yield point) permits major energy savings and, consequently, reduced air pollution.

In the context of the framework agreement for creation of the Settimo Torinese Technology and Production Centre for the production of “green performance” tyres, Pirelli Tyre and the Turin Polytechnic have pursued joint research and technological innovation projects dedicated not only to minimising the impact of the new industrial site but especially further innovation of the most advanced processes and products of Pirelli Tyre research (such as TSM, Next Mirs™, and the “intelligent” Cyber Tyre), activated in 2008.