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Magna optimizes energy use & cuts CO2 for zero impact future

Using CHP trigeneration technologies Magna aims to drastically reduce CO2 emissions and its energy costs.
4.056

kWe electrical power generated

53%

Percentage of electricity requirement met

14,000

Tons of CO2 saved per year

Magna PT is part of the multinational group Magna International and specializes in various applications for the automotive industry, including the development and production of transmission systems. The Magna plant in Bari, Italy has Ford, Renault and Mercedes as customers.

“The Modugno plant in Bari has been in operation since 1997,” explains Franco Modeo, HSE Manager of Magna Powertrain (PT) S.p.A. “We currently produce two dual-clutch transmission (DCT) variants, and we are preparing to produce transmission systems for hybrid vehicles, which is likely to represent the future of our business.”

In addition to housing logistics services, the facility is where mechanical manufacturing and assembly are carried out. The plant has a total surface area of 110,000 square meters, 48,600 covered, accommodates approximately 900 employees, and produces around 3,000 transmission systems per day.

Carbon zero by 2025

Although not classified as an energy intensive company, Magna PT S.p.A. uses a substantial amount of electricity, up to 60 GWh per year, due to manufacturing activity. It includes the heat treatment process of cementation, involving electric furnaces. In addition to those electricity requirements, the plant also requires energy for cooling, used to lower the temperature of the premises and machinery.

“We use electric chillers for that purpose,” states Modeo, “and this considerably affects our energy consumption, which in turn has an increasingly significant impact on our financial statements. That is why we considered Combined Heat and Power (CHP), a solution capable of helping us achieve greater efficiency and sustainability. The project originated from the constant need to increase the energy efficiency of our processes, with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025, the extremely ambitious aim set by the group for all its European plants.”

“Some of the reasons that prompted us to select Centrica Business Solutions as our partner were their proprietary systems, engineering expertise, and ability to fully manage the project execution process, including complex administrative procedures.”
Franco Modeo, HSE Manager, Magna PT

Turnkey managed trigeneration

In late 2019, Magna conducted a feasibility study designed to establish the optimal size of the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system to be installed and how the central refrigeration unit could be integrated with the absorbers.

“We drew up a specification based on a 2.5 MW system,” explains Modeo, “which we submitted to various market players. Our preferred proposal was submitted by Centrica Business Solutions: it enabled us to obtain 4 MW with two engines in parallel, therefore it fulfilled the majority of our requirements and, at the same time, gave us greater flexibility than a single motor of a larger size. The proposal also included the use of Rolls Royce MTU engines, which were our preferred option. Ultimately, thanks to Centrica Business Solutions, we now have a solution that perfectly combines our need for direct investment in the system (the purchase costs were fully covered by Magna) with turnkey management of coordination and maintenance operations.”

“We really valued the combination of high-quality managerial and engineering expertise that Centrica Business Solutions provided. We are also extremely satisfied with their open and professional approach: the relationships have always been transparent and are geared towards complete openness.”
Franco Modeo, HSE Manager, Magna PT

Centrica Business Solutions effectively handles the management and maintenance of the system with a full risk package. The package offers a dedicated service desk, scheduled maintenance inclusive of any upgrades during the operational lifetime of the engines, extraordinary corrective maintenance, designed to diagnose potential faults, and subsequent repair. All this without incurring additional costs. It also includes continuous remote monitoring, automatic alerts for potential faults, and monthly reports on system performance and resulting savings.

This provides the customer with a guarantee regarding the system’s function and operational availability. In approximately one year, at the height of a pandemic, Centrica Business Solutions delivered a system that was engineeringly complex (partly because it is based at a site formerly used as a warehouse), with tailor-made configuration, and also took care of all the administrative and authorization procedures.

“We really valued the combination of high-quality managerial and engineering expertise that Centrica Business Solutions provided,” states Modeo, “and we are also extremely satisfied with their open and professional approach: the relationships have always been transparent and are geared towards complete openness.”

Hydrogen and solar in the future

“It is still too soon to evaluate the outcomes of the project, partly because the costs of energy in late 2021 and early 2022 have disrupted all the patterns, but CHP is definitely helping our business adhere to a sustainable, economic, and environmental strategy. Due to the variability in gas and energy prices right now, it is difficult to confirm with certainty how much energy we will save, but we can confirm that we have covered over 50% of our electrical energy requirement, and we estimate that we are saving more than 14,000 tons of CO2. Meanwhile, we are also looking to the future, to further increase efficiency and place a greater focus on renewables.”

Magna’s short-term aim for the Bari plant is to completely eliminate electric chillers, through the recovery and optimal management of the thermal energy produced by the system. The CHP system will enable the potential reduction of annual electricity consumption for cooling by 4,125 MWh. There is also a planned increase to the capacities of the solar energy system, implemented in 2019 and currently occupying a section of the parking lot, supplying a total of approximately 400 kW.

Finally, the data monitoring system, which collects information from all the energy generation systems, will also be integrated.

“In the future, working alongside Centrica Business Solutions, we would like to learn how to tackle the increasingly significant challenges of sustainability, also focusing on biogas and hydrogen, for example. We plan to continue down our chosen road of efficiency, looking to the future with an energy autonomy approach,” concludes Modeo.

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