By Simon Pitman+
L'Oréal has opened its brand new hair care production facility in Burgos, Northern Spain, which has been designed as a biomass plant, enabling the cosmetics giant to term it carbon neutral.
As well as biomass, the facility has pioneered the use of photovoltaic technology and trigeneration energy to ensure that the production output adheres to minimal energy use and waste.
L'Oréal engineers claim that the design means this is the first time a trigeneration facility will supply steam, hot water, cold water and electricity to a manufacturing site.
Electricity generation = carbon neutral
It will also produce 100% of the energy needs for its entire manufacturing process, including the packaging.
Likewise, the photovoltaic panels will provide the electricity necessary to achieve carbon neutral status in 2015, the company claims, while initiatives in waste management at the facility are already in operation.
The initiative and the carbon neutral rating all form part of L'Oréal's ambitious 'Sharing Beauty With All' sustainability programme, which is targeting to reduce the company's environmental footprint by 60% by the year 2020.
Flagship production facility
The continued development at Burgos has made it a flagship facility, as well as a precursor to the company's manufacturing ambitions worldwide.
So far the investment represents a total of €14.5m, which was funded largely by Biocen, a company specialising in the construction of environmentally-friendly production facilities, with L'Oréal making a contribution of €2.5m to the total.
Biocen will oversee the 20,000 MW/h/year thermal energy produced by the plant, 70% of which will be consumed on-site, while the remaining 30% would be commercialised among other companies in the area.