Submitted by Stellantis
DaimlerChrysler presented it's Environmental Report 2000 today. Last year, DaimlerChrysler spent 1.5 billion euros on environmental protection. The lion's share-870 million euros-went into research and development activities for environmentally friendly products and production processes, including fuel cells and low emission engines with improved fuel efficiency.
In order to demonstrate how its financial investment has paid off, DaimlerChrysler presented the latest figures and environmental data from Germany and the United States. These are also contained in the company's new 2000 Environmental Report. In 1999, for example, DaimlerChrysler's Commercial Vehicles division reduced carbon monoxide emissions by around 65 percent, while the Chrysler Group cut its levels of stationary sulfur dioxide emissions by nearly 60 percent.
Sisal Industry in South Africa
In September, DaimlerChrysler begins using natural fibers in vehicle production in South Africa. Within the framework of this program, the company implemented a transfer of technology and know-how from Germany to South Africa for the entire process chain-from natural fiber production and fiber mat manufacturing to the actual construction of natural fiber vehicle components. DaimlerChrysler was able to fall back on the experience and expertise gained during its "Belém Project" in Brazil's Amazon Delta. This project, which has been running for nine years, was the first to use coconut fiber in the production of commercial vehicles.
When the Mercedes-Benz C-Class goes into production in East London, South Africa, in September 2000, the vehicle's rear parcel shelf will be made out of a sisal-cotton mixture. The cotton is from recycled cotton fabrics; the sisal is delivered by local farmers to mat manufacturers, who then send their products to vehicle components suppliers. None of the partners involved in the project had previously been involved in sisal processing.
DaimlerChrysler's rear parcel shelf component marks the beginning of sisal production in South Africa. The material will also be used for other C-Class components in the future.
In the meantime, DaimlerChrysler researchers in Germany are going a step further by using natural fibers to reinforce exterior components. The new Mercedes-Benz Travego travel coach will be equipped with flax-reinforced engine and transmission enclosures for sound insulation. This first use of natural fibers for standard exterior components in a production vehicle represents a milestone in materials technology, particularly since exterior components must be able to withstand more extreme conditions-such as wetness and chipping-than interior parts.
New Fuels for Future Technologies
DaimlerChrysler is also investing substantially in the development of new, environmentally friendly drive technologies for future generations of vehicles. New direct-injection engines with DeNOx catalytic converter technology can be introduced to the market if sulfur-free gasoline is readily available.
DaimlerChrysler Environmental Commissioner Werner Pollmann therefore called on the petroleum industry to "make a contribution to reducing vehicle emissions by offering sulfur-free gasoline and diesel at all gas stations." He also pointed out that the sulfur contained in today's fuels damages the catalytic converters for the latest generation of engines, adding that "no vehicle needs fuel with sulfur in it."
In 2002, DaimlerChrysler will deliver the first city buses equipped with fuel cell drives. The first fuel cell-driven passenger cars will follow two years later. The systems require new fuels such as for example hydrogen or methanol.
Because of still unsolved issues concerning storage, production and transport, hydrogen is currently only suitable as a fuel for vehicle fleets. The advantages of methanol are that gas stations could easily be re-equipped to dispense it as well as the fact that it can be produced using regenerative methods. Hydrogen-powered combustion engines are considered by DaimlerChrysler to be a non-viable option due to their low levels of energy efficiency compared to fuel cells.
"What we therefore need is a constructive dialogue among government, energy producers, automobile manufacturers and the public," Pollmann said. "Such a dialogue should address these risks and opportunities ultimately leading to a decision on the energy sources and fuels of the future."
The Economic Potential of Environmental Protection
Pollmann also emphasized that the new fuel cell technology sector presents a great opportunity for creating new jobs. The DaimlerChrysler subsidiary Excellsis-which develops fuel cell systems-already employs a total of 400 experts in the field.
DaimlerChrysler presented its new Environmental Report today. Like those in previous reports, the articles in the current report were researched and put together by young journalists and photographers. DaimlerChrysler employs this open-style reporting as a means of providing clear and easily understandable information to a broader public-one that goes beyond the usual group of experts. The comprehensive facts and figures section can be viewed on the Internet.
The 2000 Environmental Report can be ordered from DaimlerChrysler by contacting the following fax number: +49 711/17-95222 or via e-mail.
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