How One Man, A Pipe, and Falling Water Reduced CO2 Emissions

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To demonstrate the value Honda places on conscientiousness, the company is producing three short videos, each about two minutes long, which highlight employee ideas to help the environment. What’s cool about these videos is that rather than focusing on an existing companywide initiative, they tell stories about improvements that individual employees made while working on the job. This shows that Honda empowers employees to implement ideas, and that employees feel engaged and passionate in their work to make things better, even when it’s not directly a part of their day-to-day work.

In today’s video, the idea was incredibly simple: water falling down a pipe. The water had been used as coolant in a factory, and once it had done its job, it drained down a pipe where it was never seen again. Most people would look at that and see no ways to improve. So long as the water was being recycled somehow, going back into the ground, say, wasn’t that already environmentally sound?

A retired engineer, however, thought differently. He saw water falling thirty-five feet as more than gravity doing its job; he saw energy in motion, and wherever energy exists, a machine can capture that energy and reuse it.

How amazing is that? When we think of waste, we think of gratuitous resources being tossed carelessly aside. The energy from water falling down a pipe would never cross our minds as “waste.” Nonetheless, this engineer saw opportunity, sketched out a design on paper, and sent it to one of his former colleagues who still worked at the plant.

The employees kicked around ideas, drew some more ideas, and came up with a wheel that could be inserted into the side of the pipe. The water falls, turns the wheel, which cranks an alternator and generates electricity, just like a mini power plant. That steady stream of electricity, though small, is electricity that no longer has to be supplied by a regular power plant. The impact of that? A reduction in CO2 emissions by 77,000 pounds per year.

All from water that drained down a pipe that most people would never even think to capitalize on. It’s that drive for environmentally sustainable practices and technologies that Honda wants to implement not only in our cars, but in our overall effect as a company on earth.

As the second video in Honda’s Environmental Film Series, you can also watch the first video online and stay tuned for the third and final video which should be released on Friday.

How One Man, A Pipe, and Falling Water Reduced CO2 Emissions was last modified: May 21st, 2015 by Leith Honda

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