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Toyota aims to harness the wind  

Car maker Toyota is hoping to strengthen its green credentials by harnessing wind power at its engine factory in Flintshire.

For the last decade the Japanese company has led the motoring world with its hybrid Prius car, which uses electric power as well as internal combustion to reduce fuel consumption and pollution.

Now managers at its engine plant on Deeside Industrial Park in Flintshire hope that some of the energy needed to manufacture engine components – some of which are exported to Japan – can be generated on site.

This would cushion Toyota against fluctuating energy prices, as well as potentially reducing electricity bills.

Today members of Flintshire County Council will consider a planning application from Toyota for a temporary wind monitoring mast. The 60-metre mast, at the southern end of the site, would monitor wind speeds at various heights over 12 months, to determine the viability of wind power.

Graham Hillier of Toyota UK said no decision would be taken on the number or size of wind turbines until the monitoring results were available.

“From our viewpoint, it’s a green and cost-effective method to help our business,” he said. “It complements Toyota’s green credentials. In our European region there’s a strong emphasis on environmental issues.”

He said the idea of wind power had come from local site managers rather than corporate headquarters in Japan.

The Deeside factory already boasts a rainwater harvesting system with reverse osmosis to purify the water. Managers are also working to reduce energy consumption at the plant, but the manufacturing processes use huge amounts of power.

“It’s heavy industry. We do machining, casting and smelting here,” said Mr Hillier.

“We’re by the Dee estuary, so there’s a good chance of having enough wind to make wind generation a sensible solution going forward.”

This week Toyota published Global Vision 2020, its blueprint for a future in which it sees recycling, fuel cells, biofuels and new types of battery playing major roles. A one- seater hybrid car is also on the cards.

by Sion Barry, Western Mail

icwales.icnetwork.co.uk

14 November 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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