Conservation of resources
When producing engine modules or engines in our plants, or when maintaining them in our maintenance shops, we aim to conserve resources as far as possible. Using processes that are efficient in terms of energy and raw materials, we aim to minimize consumption of scarce resources and reduce emissions. In this way, we are able to contribute to climate action and protection.
With the help of our environmental management system, we aim to advance our resource-conserving production processes, and gradually improve energy efficiency in the manufacture of our products and in the maintenance of engines and modules. Our goal is highly efficient production and maintenance with minimal use of resources. We use raw materials, water and energy sparingly. This is set out as a guideline for all employees in our Code of Conduct and our MTU Principles. Conserving resources is also a way for us to reduce our production costs. The use of resources depends on batch sizes in production and maintenance. In 2019 we were again ramping up production at all sites, which poses a particular challenge for us when it comes to reducing or consumption or resources and energy.
Our contribution to the SDGs
In making our process as resource-conserving as possible, we support two global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 9 on “Industry, innovation and infrastructure” and SDG 12 on “Responsible consumption and production.” A secondary objective of SDG 9 calls for sustainable industry with more efficient use of resources and increased use of environmentally friendly technologies and industrial processes. Our sustainable waste management system contributes in particular to SDG 12, which calls for a significant reduction in global waste generation by 2030. All the measures we take to protect resources, reduce our energy requirements, and above all use renewable energies, ultimately also benefit SDG 13 on “Climate action.”
MTU relies on a mix of renewable and non-renewable energy sources and chooses energy resources based on security of supply, cost effectiveness and environmental considerations. Regarding non-renewable primary energy, we use natural gas, the aviation fuel kerosene and a very small amount of diesel and heating oil (together accounting for less than 5%). In Munich, we generate electricity and heat using a cogeneration plant (BHKW). Compared to conventional power plants, cogeneration plants are much more efficient and emit less pollution. In addition, we use biomethane for the BHKW. The Hannover site makes use of solar energy with the aid of a solar thermal power plant and, in 2019, commissioned a BHKW cogeneration plant comprising three micro gas turbines for generating electricity and heat. We also achieve greater energy efficiency by having the sites use waste heat from compressed air generation as thermal energy (combination principle).
In the reporting year, we invested some EUR 1.4 million in energy-saving measures. The main driver of these measures was a renovation of the facade to make it more energy-efficient and a switch to high-efficiency pumps in Hannover.
Energy sources used in 2019
Scope 1 and 2 (consumption in MWh; share in %)
Measures for energy-efficient production/maintenance
- Well water for cooling purposes
- District heating network modernization
- Improvements to thermal insulation
- Building automation systems
- Heat recovery systems
- Renewable energy
- Energy-efficient compressed air supply
- Energy-efficient lighting systems
- Waste heat from compressed air generation
- Electric transport in the plants
- Machine shutdowns during disruptions of production to reduce the base load
Our energy consumption
Our Scope 1 energy requirement (direct energy consumption) remained at the previous year’s level in 2019—despite the ongoing production ramp-up production at our sites. MTU’s total Scope 1 energy consumption totaled 168,600 megawatt hours (MWh) compared with 162,200 MWh for 2018 (+3.9%). Scope 1 primarily concerns the energy sources natural gas and kerosene. Kerosene is used as a fuel for testing engines on the test stand, so consumption depends on how extensive the tests are and on engine size. MTU has no influence on the type and duration of test runs. All newly maintained as well as manufactured engines must complete a test run prior to delivery for safety reasons and to demonstrate their performance. Our digitalization strategy is making strides toward increasing the use of simulations in development and manufacturing in order to reduce the amount of development testing for new engines. To this end, a number of projects in the area of development and technology are already underway. This is an important contributor to resource conservation. Regarding renewable energy, we used 20,800 MWh of biomethane for our cogeneration plant, a slightly larger share than in the previous year (2018: 18,100 MWh).
In 2019, we procured a total of 129,000 MWh of external energy (Scope 2), somewhat more than in the previous year (2018: 125,600 MWh). Purchased energy is mainly electricity, with a share of 96.3%. Our use of green electricity is determined by the extent to which our chosen suppliers feed it into the grid. Our selection is based on economic and environmental considerations. MTU Maintenance Canada gets all its electricity from hydroelectric power stations and therefore 100% from renewable resources. This corresponds to a share of around 3% of MTU’s total electricity procurement.
Energy supply, production, Scope 1 and 2 (in MWh) GRI 302-1
Direct energy consumption, natural gas, kerosene, other = Scope 1
Indirect energy consumption, electricity, district heating = Scope 2
Covered by Scope 1: non-fossil fuels = biomethane
The total energy requirement for Scope 1 and 2 was 297,600 MWh in 2019, which, even with the production ramp-up, was only just above the previous year’s level (+3.4%). With a systematic energy management system, we manage primarily the consumption of our main energy sources electricity and natural gas and implement improvements.
Our progress in energy management in 2019
- Renovation of lighting in several production facilities, Munich
- Switch to LED lighting, several production sites
- An end to computers in stand-by mode, Munich, Vancouver
- Switch from pneumatic tools to electrically operated tools, Ludwigsfelde
- Renewal of pumps and systems, renovation of facade and roof, Hannover
- Preparations underway to recover compressor heat to use for heating rooms, Rzeszów
- Remote working from home, Munich, Vancouver
Water is a valuable resource that we use sparingly. We have effective water management systems in place at all production sites. Our water consumption also fluctuates depending on production volumes. In keeping with the precautionary principle, we treat wastewater properly and in accordance with the applicable legal requirements. One of the aims of the Zero mission at our Munich site is to decrease water consumption overall (absolute reduction) or, when production increases, to keep the increase in water consumption at a lower rate (relative reduction). In 2019, we invested some EUR 1.1 million in improved wastewater management.
Our fully consolidated production sites are in Germany, Poland and Canada, so they are not located in water-stressed regions as determined by the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas (water risk for those countries: low or low/medium). Water-stressed regions are regions in which water is a scarce resource. We monitor the development of water availability in the regions in which we operate, which allows us to make decisions about additional measures to take, if required.
Our water consumption
We use drinking water for production and maintenance processes, in sanitary facilities and in the cafeteria. In addition, we use well water for cooling processes. We record water consumption locally as an absolute value. Water withdrawal amounted to around 9.7 million cubic meters for all production sites (2018: 8.7 million m3). The higher water usage figure is due primarily to more groundwater at the Munich site (where we use Quaternary groundwater from our own wells). The water used was 97.9% groundwater and only 2.1% came from the municipal drinking water supply. Using well water contributes to climate action and protection, as it eliminates the need for energy-intensive cooling processes such as compressor cooling systems.
We use recirculated water as much as possible in chemical process baths for applying protective coatings to blades and also for the process water in installations for testing component damage. Thanks to this recirculation, we have to treat only a small amount of wastewater before discharging it into the municipal sewers. This enabled us to save around 614,000 m3 of water in the reporting year. We also use recycled water for the chemical cleaning of engine parts. Our sustainable water management also includes systematic inspection and renovation of the well water and sewer networks.
Water balance (in m3) GRI GRI 303-3-303-5
We treat wastewater in suitable sewage systems according to the type and extent of pollution. The quality of the discharged wastewater complies with the official requirements issued for the respective sites. We carry out strict monitoring at the sites to ensure that legal limits are observed and comply 100% with all local authority requirements. Neither water sources nor water surfaces were negatively impacted or polluted by our operating activities, and again no harmful substances were leaked in 2019. This also applies to our site in Canada in particular, which is located directly on Sea Island in the Fraser River estuary in Richmond, British Columbia. The surrounding nature conservation areas are crucial for salmon migration and the Pacific route of migratory birds.
Material and waste
The long service life of our products and the continuous improvement of our maintenance processes ensure our demand for raw materials is reduced. Aircraft engines as a rule spend 30 years in service before they are decommissioned. In all of our production methods, we pay attention to efficiency in the use of materials and seek to avoid waste. We develop our own production and repair methods that are characterized by their high material efficiency. With its “repair beats replacement” philosophy, MTU Maintenance achieves a truly impressive depth in aircraft engine repair. Using special techniques the company has developed in-house, we repair engine components that in other maintenance shops would have to be replaced with new parts. For example, we manage to give around 70% of all engine blades a second, third or even fourth lease on life. We are gradually expanding this product recycling approach to include new processes with an eye to achieving even longer service lives and thus greater material efficiency. For instance, in the case of life-limited parts, we have succeeded in repairing integrally manufactured engine blades and disks, known as “blisks.” This is important because the number of blisks being installed in engines is increasing. We are one of the world’s leading companies in the field of blisk production and repair.
We have abolished single-use cups at our Munich and Hannover sites and replaced them with returnable or deposit cups. This means we already avoid using 400,000 single-use cups per year; our site in Ludwigsfelde also plans to make the switch.
We achieve greater material efficiency in the production of new parts by using additive processes such as 3D printing of metals. This manufacturing technology enables the rapid 3D production of highly complex components and allows for more freedom in designing them. Components are laser-melted directly from a powder bed according to CAD data—with just 5-10% of the powder ending up as excess material that cannot be used. This significantly reduces the amount of resources used.
Harmless materials: REACh regulation
Wherever possible, we avoid using materials that are hazardous to the environment or to health in our manufacturing processes and products. According to the European REACh (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulation, certain substances of very high concern (SVHCs) containing chromium(VI) are subject to authorization. We implement all provisions of the EU regulation for protecting employees and the environment. We use the REACh-listed material chromium trioxide for wear and corrosion protection. The European Chemicals Agency EChA authorized MTU to continue its use in several of our processes until 2029 on the basis of the extremely safe workplace standards in our surface coating activities. At the same time, we are pushing ahead with the long-term elimination of SVHCs that require authorization. Two technology projects are currently underway with which we are looking for chromic acid/chromium(VI) substitutes. We oblige our suppliers to comply with the EU’s legal requirements (registration, authorization, etc.) via the General Terms and Conditions of Purchase if they use REACh substances in their auxiliary or operating materials.
Our material consumption
The consumption of production materials (alloys, spray powder and steel) amounted to 4,340 metric tons in the past financial year, while the quantity of consumables and supplies was 10,080 metric tons. In total, we needed 16,030 metric tons of materials in 2019, slightly up from the previous year (15,110 metric tons) due above all to a greater requirement for production materials as a result of the ramp-up. Of this total, 10% were made from renewable materials. As part of our Zero mission in Munich, we switched to recycled paper for all printers in 2019, which meant that we were able to obtain just under 1% of our material from recycled sources.
Material consumption (in tons) GRI 301-1
Consumables and supplies
Our products require the use of materials that are classified as conflict minerals due to their possible origin in Central Africa and can be problematic with regard to human rights violations. Rather than procuring these mineral raw materials directly, we have implemented appropriate processes in our supplier management in order to comply with our human rights due diligence. → More information about Human rights
MTU practices sustainable waste management with the safe disposal of waste sorted according to waste type and recycling process. First and foremost, we try to avoid waste, reuse leftover materials and use waste either for its materials or as energy; if recycling is not possible, waste is disposed of properly. In this way, we seek to minimize material consumption and waste disposal volumes. This is how we achieve high recycling rates over the years. We have abolished single-use drinks cups at our Munich and Hannover sites and replaced them with returnable or deposit cups. As a result, we can avoid using almost 400,000 paper cups per year. Our site in Ludwigsfelde near Berlin also plans to cease using single-use cups.
Waste footprint (in t) GRI 306-2
Share of hazardous waste
Total waste generation in 2019 amounted to 8,370 metric tons and increased only marginally year on year (+4.5%). Measured against that total, the MTU Group achieved an overall recycling rate of 87.5%. The amount of waste produced and recycling routes depend primarily on production capacity utilization. The share of hazardous waste in the reporting period was 41.1%. In 2019 as in 2018, no soil contamination was found at MTU sites that resulted from the leakage of hazardous materials or pollutants.