Independence Day for L’Oréal
In July 2016, France-headed ”beauty major” inaugurated ”zero (fossil) carbon dioxide emissions” at its Settimo Torinese facility in Italy. Solar PV, district heat and cooling cut both costs and carbon.
On July 4 2016, France-headed cosmetics major L’Oréal held an inauguration of its L’Oréal Italy Settimo Torinese plant located near Turin, Italy. It was a significant moment on an auspicious day for the company. It marked the completion of a series of projects at the plant making it the first of the Group’s 44 production facilities worldwide to achieve “zero (fossil) carbon emissions”.
Achieving near zero-carbon energy
The largest L’Oréal production facility by volume, it has done this by switching to a combination of renewable energy and energy recovery. Built in 1959, the Settimo Torinese facility specialises in producing various brands of cosmetic powders, hair– and make-up products, putting out over 300 million items annually. The 10 ha site, 5.5 ha of which is roofed, employs ≈ 400 staff.
The project is part of its “Sharing Beauty with All“, a global sustainability plan that L’Oréal embarked on in 2013 with a goal to achieve by 2020. Part of the plan is to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in production by at least 60 percent compared to 2005. Other goals include reducing the volume of waste generated and water consumed.
District heat- and cooling
The L’Oréal Settimo Torinese plant requires process steam, electricity, space heating and cooling. Steam is used for cleaning and sterilisation purposes and is produced onsite using a gas boiler. Delivered via the local gas network, L’Oréal has a purchase agreement with the municipality of Turin for biomethane produced and injected into the network at a municipal organic waste treatment plant. In 2011, the plant was connected to a local district heat network owned and operated by Riesco, a subsidiary of Elaris Holding, a private Italian renewable energy developer, owner and operator. The 17 km heat network currently derives its heat from two sources; the 385 MWe Leinì combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) intermediate/peak load power plant operated by the Italian subsidiary of France-headed energy major Engie. The second heat source is a new 5 MW biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant owned and operated by Solis, another subsidiary of Elaris Holding.
Solar PV and biopower
Also here L’Oréal has renewable heat and power purchase agreements in place; with Riesco for the biomass heat and Consortium Energia Verde SpA, a renewable power originator and subsidiary of Elaris Holding, for the electricity. Solis enables Riesco to supply 100 percent of L’Oréal’s annual heat- and cooling demand as renewable via the heat network.
The CHP supplies around 65 percent of L’Oréal’s electricity needs, balancing a 3.3 MWe solar photovoltaic (PV) installation that L’Oréal installed at its facility in 2014. The 48 000 m² of rooftop PV provides for about 35 percent of the power demand and is currently the largest self-production self-consumption (SEU) installation in Italy. It was installed by Enersol, another Elaris Holding subsidiary. Space cooling needed during the summer months is also produced onsite by L’Oréal in an 850 kW York water-lithium bromide absorption chiller using district heat from the network.
A beautiful example
– This green energy has a lower cost compared to the conventional one used previously. An example of how sustainability can be good for not only the environment but also to the income statement. And how the virtuous cooperation between public and private, between companies and territory, can help companies to gain productivity with a positive impact on the communities they serve, said Cristina Scocchia, CEO of L’Oréal Italy in a statement back in July at the opening.
Even on a November ”bad hair” day, it is very difficult to disagree.