There is an ever-so-growing anticipation and hype around Tesla’s Gigafactory. Not only that it will be arguably the largest building in the world, but also it is expected to exceed the world’s battery production all on its own. Everybody wants to see that promised drop in prices of Tesla’s EVs, and of course, be able to store their own energy at home, without having to rely on the grid.
But while the focus so far was placed heavily on what the ‘Gigafactory‘ has to give, its features and green aspects are somehow neglected. So here it is, the one fact that has somehow bypassed all news feeds- Tesla’s Gigafactory will be the world’s biggest Net Zero Energy facility. In other words, it will generate all the energy it needs to run carbon neutral operations, using solar panels and new technologies.
JB Straubel, Tesla’s Chief Technical Officer, recently revealed the company’s plans to cover all roof surfaces of the factory, as well as all the surrounding hills, with solar panels. What is more, the factory will not have even a single gas pipeline running through or towards its premises. This means that the building will not generate a single molecule of CO2, and no one will be given the option to point at the possibility of burning that little bit of natural gas “because it is more efficient”. Last but not least, the Gigafactory will also have a highly efficient heat pumping technology, which turned out to be much better than burning fossils.
This novel approach in construction is pretty admirable. We are all creatures of habit, and we love falling back to what we know, just because it is easy and it is right there. But the guys at Tesla are going against this- they believe that it has to be done right from the start, instead of try to fix things later on.
Straubel admitted that the challenges have been, and still are many, but the company stands firm behind its believes- zero emission cars, zero emission factory. The difficulties have been more like learning points, and have resulted in new inventions and discoveries.
The only emissions that the guys are anticipating would come from diesel vehicles that come to the facility, but apparently Tesla’s team is even going to approach this issue.
There it is. So it is possible after all to build something massive, which is also net zero and can function perfectly well. Let’s hope that more building engineers follow the design approach of Tesla, and build factories that do not give the fall-back-to-gas option. Such buildings have so much available rooftop space, why not just cover it with solar panels?
Image (c) Tesla