For the fifth year in a row, Volkswagen has honored some of its employees for their environmental efforts. The top award went to Pablo Romero Zalba from VW's plant in Pamplona, Spain for coming up with a way to use the residual adhesive left over in the barrels that are received at the assembly plant. The change helped reduce hazardous waste disposal and material usage at the plant.

One of the problems that are encountered in factories is scrap parts. Often components don't pass inspection and must be thrown away. Another award went to Holger Jerzewski who developed a method to treat rejected connecting rods so that can be re-worked and put to use. Other awards went to people who worked on hardening furnaces and in various product categories. Engineers who developed the new natural gas-fueled Passat and the BlueMotion TDI models were also recognized. The VW press release is after the jump.

[Source: Volkswagen]


Volkswagen presents internal environmental award to creative employees

This year sees winners from all over Europe for first time

Wolfsburg, 15 July 2008 - Volkswagen today (July 15, 2008) presented its internal environmental award for the fifth time to employees who have shown exceptional commitment and creativity with regard to environmental protection.

"We were delighted with the diversity of ideas submitted for this year's environmental award: we are particularly pleased to see two award winners from the Spanish plant in Pamplona, since this international participation underscores the global significance of environmental issues. The spectrum ranged from product development to production, with the personal commitment of our employees going well beyond the normal course of duty," Günter Damme, Environmental Management Officer at the Volkswagen brand, commented in Wolfsburg on Tuesday. He added that this commitment was important in order to successfully establish environmental protection in a company such as Volkswagen. "Employees in all sections of the company must bring environmental protection to life. This year's award winners and their ideas ranging from clean TDI technology through cutting down on packaging material to reworking reject piston rods set a marvelous example," Günter Damme said.

The first prize in this year's internal environmental award, which is presented in the production and the product categories, goes to the production department at the Pamplona plant in Spain. Pablo Romero Zalba, who works in body construction and is responsible for material supplies, came up with his own idea for developing and building a device for using the residual adhesive contained in the barrels delivered to the plant. His idea not only saved resources, but also reduced special waste by an annual 5,800 kg.

Second prize went to Holger Jerzewski from Brunswick, who devised a method for treating blued piston rods with a solvent-free cold cleaning agent so that these rods can be used rather than going to scrap. This simple method brings annual cost savings of around 120,000 euros.

The third prize went to Andreas Kwiecinski and Holger Eigenbrod from Kassel: they work in the hardening shop and are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the hardening furnaces. Their idea optimizes furnace insulation and uses a thicker insulating material, thus reducing the size of the furnace combustion chamber and slashing gas consumption. The idea also lowers CO2 emissions.

In the production category, two employees were honored for their long-standing commitment to environmental protection. Since 1999, Juan–A. Ferreiro da Silva from Hanover has shown enormous personal commitment to optimizing paint applications. He helped to cut solvent consumption by approximately 2 million kg since 1999.

Michael Hübscher from the Wolfsburg plant has been an expert in environmental protection since 1994 and has coordinated and monitored the use of all chemicals for hardening and galvanizing applications in prototype construction. He has shown great initiative in implementing numerous environment-related projects over the years.

First prize in the product category went to Matthias Leifheit, VW Individual, Jörg Worm, Uwe Behlendorf and Christian Eigen for the development of the natural gas-powered Passat TSI-CNG. All four showed considerable initiative going well beyond their project remit in developing a powertrain concept featuring a turbocharged engine fuelled by natural gas. This twin-charging technology has given Volkswagen a head start in realizing a CNG engine with optimum consumption and performance characteristics. Moreover, the significantly lower weight brought by fitting thin-walled gas tanks has brought CO2 emissions down to 129 g/km. This low value contributes to cutting fleet CO2 emissions.

The second prize in this category goes to Steffen Hunkert and his team from diesel engine development; they have used intelligent engine control to optimize the interaction between performance, consumption and emissions, thus lowering fuel consumption. This engine application was first used in the Polo, Passat and Audi A3, and subsequently for all other BlueMotion models. The "fine tuning", combined with other vehicle measures such as lower driving resistance and longer gear ratios, culminated in a successful overall concept.

Richard Dorenkamp and his team from diesel engine development were awarded third place in the product category for their clean TDI technology Jetta BlueTDI for the US market. The Jetta BlueTDI is the first diesel model in the USA to comply with the world's most stringent exhaust standard: the 90 percent reduction in NOx emissions was achieved through engine design measures in combination with novel exhaust gas treatment.

The personal prize in this category goes to Dzemal Sjenar, concept definition, who was honored for his great personal commitment to designing environmentally compatible vehicles. The ideas generated by Dzemal Sjenar during the concept phase lent considerable momentum to the later development of the BlueMotion strategy and he was also involved in concept definition and prototype construction of new and alternative powertrain and vehicle concepts.

All Europe-based employees of the Volkswagen and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brands, Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH and departments in Wolfsburg performing Group functions are eligible to apply for the internal environmental award. Ideas relating to new methods, materials and products which have already proven their worth in practice were eligible to apply for this year's award. Projects still at the ideas stage cannot therefore be considered.

As a result of the positive response, the internal environmental award will with effect from this year no longer be presented every two years but will become an annual event.

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