Audi is converting a former oil refinery in Germany into an ecological paradise exploring the range of green technologies related to the automobile of the future.
The automaker says the IN-Campus technology park near its headquarters in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, will also be a center for green and sustainable renewal.
With environmentally friendly soil remediation now concluded on an area previously polluted by heavy industry, it creates modern space for a wide range of areas, from vehicle safety to smart networking over an area of 148 acres (60 ha). The site’s smart energy concept includes renewable energy, waste heat recovery and heat storage. An additional 37 acres (15 ha) will become a natural and landscaped area.
The site had been used by the Bayernoil refinery in Ingolstadt, but is now a joint venture between Audi and the city aimed at addressing issues such as digital innovations and sustainability. It has a 452,000 square feet. (42,000 m²) idea factory for the technologies of the future. Automotive software company CARIAD has already moved in.
The nearby A 9 motorway has served for years as a digital proving ground for the development of automated driving. The “First Mile”, a development and demonstration route for 5G-based mobility applications, runs from IN-Campus to the highway, virtually extending the test field to the campus grounds. The vehicle safety center is also under construction with a modern crash test site, which will provide Audi with a wide range of opportunities in the development of its vehicles.
Clean polluted soil
A total of 54 acres (22 ha) of the site is polluted and needs remediation, according to studies. The site has been undergoing remediation since 2016. In total, 900 tonnes of heavy oil, 200 tonnes of volatile pollutants and 220 lbs. (100 kg) of perfluorinated chemicals have already been disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Approximately 45,930 cubic yards. (444,000 m3) of soil was also removed, the equivalent of more than 32,000 truckloads.
The vision of IN-Campus is that of a zero-energy campus initially using a solar electricity system on the green roof of the energy control center. While the IN-Campus also sources green electricity from the regional utility, in future the technology park will produce as much renewable energy as it consumes. Additional photovoltaic systems, waste heat recovery, energy storage and intelligent control systems are other elements of the zero energy strategy.
The modular energy concept is based on three basic bricks: the LowEx network, reversible heat pumps and an inter-energy concept. The LowEx network, a network of water-based pipes and reversible heat pumps are used to heat the IN-campus buildings with waste heat from other buildings. In the future computer center, the expected heat output will reach 2 megawatts.
The treatment method for groundwater purification also has a thermal application. The 10 wells extract a total of up to 52,830 gallons (200 m3) of water per hour from underground. Before infiltrating again after treatment, this water is introduced into the LowEx network and used for cooling or heating by means of heat exchangers. This reduces the need for fresh groundwater, reducing expenditures on this valuable resource. The heating and cooling capacity of the underground water station is approximately 1.5 megawatts.
The IN-Campus received an award from the German Green Building Council for its innovative and sustainable approach.