We get green electricity from photovoltaic systems at all Fronius locations in Austria. The total yield for the year 2019 was 1.2 Gigawatt hours (GWh).
Let’s make a small hypothetical calculation: if you were to use this energy for e-mobility, you could cover more than eight million kilometers in an electric car. That is 861 times the distance from Moscow to Vladivostok – but this route is still best travelled with the Trans-Siberian Railway.
And you could now go even further; the yield for 2020 was approximately 1.9 GWh. Meaning, that our decision to expand the photovoltaic systems at our Austrian sites to almost 2.2 megawatt peak (MWp) has paid off.
At two other sites, the office building facades are clad with semi-transparent photovoltaic modules in front of the main facade, which
Additionally, some parking lot roofs have also been equipped with photovoltaic modules.
Heat generation at our site for research and development is based on geothermal energy and the waste heat from the test laboratory. The geothermal system is one of the largest in Europe, with 204 boreholes of 200 meters each and a total probe length of around 41 km. This is connected to heat pumps, which we in turn operate with PV power we have generated ourselves.
In summer, the heat generated through sunlight is stored underground, using it for heating in winter while depositing coldness in return. The same heat exchange principle applies to the building’s cooling function in the summer. We can also save around 5 metric tons of CO2 per year by drawing limited amounts of water from the nearby river for cooling purposes.
At the large logistics and production site, 80% of the heating requirements are currently covered by a wood chip heating system and the rest using a vertical geothermal system in a process that is CO2-neutral. In the course of production hall expansion, heat pumps in combination with ice storage will take over heating and cooling duties from the current biomass power station.
The introduction of an internal car-sharing platform reduces the number of single trips between sites by enabling colleagues to book and share journeys.
There are now well over 150 networked e-charging stations for company vehicles and bicycles, which are also available to employees for private use free of charge. Our hydrogen-powered electric vehicles can also be refueled using green hydrogen at the Fronius Solhub. This is a system solution for the local generation, storage, and use of green hydrogen and puts the sectors of power, heat, and mobility to use for company purposes.
In the spirit of boosting sustainability, our production facility was built almost entirely with an underground car park – a strategy that we have also implemented at other locations. This creates parking spaces without taking up additional green space.
The rainwater collection tank is used not only for fire extinguishing purposes but also for garden irrigation due to its 800-m³ size.
Conventional planting in a courtyard would often not be possible with an underground car park. The vertical garden is a concept that involves growing plants vertically in a special sort of felt without soil and watering them using an automatic irrigation system. This turns urban areas (inside and out) into blossoming gardens that help boost biodiversity and quality of life.
Fronius has invested in an in-house nitrogen generation system. This system eliminates the need to fill the nitrogen tank, which avoids around 80 truck journeys per year.
The exterior of our R&D site consists of a double chamber system (interior and exterior glass elements). In winter, sunlight warms the air between the panes of glass. As a result, preheated fresh air flows into the building, reducing the need for heating. This saving corresponds to around 50 metric tons of CO2 per year.
The Automation division of the Business Unit Perfect Welding recently occupied an additional 6,500-m² production hall, which has been thermally renovated and equipped with a pellet heating system, a photovoltaic system, and state-of-the-art LED lighting.
Fronius is now using the building previously occupied by the Automation division to bring together all activities relating to hydrogen technology under one roof. We are making use of existing resources as well as environmentally friendly technology in the form of a photovoltaic system and pellet heating and we even reuse the waste heat from the laboratories. The new Hydrogen Competence Center will also soon feature an improved version of the Fronius Solhub. This is a decentralized hub for solar energy that is able to generate, store, and provide green hydrogen for mobile applications or to convert it back into electricity and heat.