As the world faces multiple hurricanes, a typhoon, and an existing and deepening energy crisis in Europe, the need for energy resiliency and decarbonization have been front of mind for millions. We need reliable, renewable energy sources; ones that do not contribute to our climate crisis or vanish in the face of geopolitical crises.
Our plant in Ballymote, Ireland has already taken a leap forward with its first installation of a solar photovoltaic system this summer. In a very short period of time, we have reached another milestone.
A renewable future
The original solar array is now being added to. Together with the new extension, this installation will be our largest array worldwide. It bests the photovoltaic systems in Belgium and Canada by providing around 200 kWp PV, which will provide over 10% of the our annual energy needs at the plant.
Expanding the use of solar is only one way that we are committing to renewables in Ireland. As the island faces an uncertain winter, finding a sustainable and dependable way to heat our facilities has been a top priority. We have recently switched to locally-sourced wood pellets to provide heat. Local and renewable resources will help keep us manufacturing products while not adding to demand for natural gas.
While these are two recent additions to our climate plan, our work to move our Ballymote facilities towards renewable sources began in 2016. Since then, we have been investing in Guarantees of Origin for our entire purchased electricity supply. Purchasing Guarantees of Origin in our Irish, Belgium, and German manufacturing locations boosted the share of renewables in our purchased electricity supply mix to 73% in 2020.
Resiliency in the face of uncertainty
Towns and cities that are dependent on centralized energy sources are more vulnerable. Having decentralized sources of power is crucial to maintaining community-wide electricity when demand surges or supply levels wane. To help support the energy resilience of Ballymote, we recently purchased a generator large enough to take our entire plant off the grid when electricity demand requires it to. This purchase was partially supported by the Irish government in order to help create capacity for households throughout Ballymote.
More sustainable manufacturing and products
Ballymote is where our flagship ingo-man® series is engineered and manufactured. This line has been developed in close collaboration with medical professionals and is available in both aluminium and stainless steel. With both materials, we have committed to creating a more circular economy. The housing of our aluminum-based products contain up to 100% recycled material. Our stainless steel housings contain up to 80% recycled content.
The road towards a sustainable future is an urgent, global issue that requires us to examine all of our options at each OPHARDT facility. These steps are the beginning, Jessica Hunt, Sustainability Team Leader at OPHARDT, told us. “Investing in renewable energy is an important step in transitioning to a low carbon future. In the coming years, we will continue to expand our renewable energy portfolio, adding photovoltaic systems to each of our manufacturing locations. Transitioning to a circular economy is a monumental task, but one we are committed to.”