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Nissan Shows Off $200M Paint Plant

Thursday, April 25, 2013

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New application technologies, smaller booths, a cool roof and other eco-friendly measures will slash energy usage and improve productivity at Nissan's new $200 million paint facility, billed as the "most advanced paint plant in the world, the company says.

David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, joined Tennessee officials and Nissan on a tour of the auto giant's new plant April 17 in Smyrna, TN. The plant drew praise from the Department of Energy for its eco-friendly design.

The company announced the opening of the plant in January, calling it the "most advanced paint plant in the world."

The 250,000-square-foot facility is capable of reducing energy consumption by 30 percent, carbon emissions by 30 percent, and VOC emissions by 70 percent, the company said.

Nissan Smyrna plant
Photos: Nissan

Nissan's new Smyrna, TN, paint facility uses a three-wet paint process to reduce energy consumption. The process applies all three layers of paint before the vehicle is baked.

Nissan's previous paint system had been in place for 30 years. The plant is adjacent to the company's existing vehicle assembly plant in Smyrna, TN.

Speedy Paint Process

The plant will use a three-wet paint process that applies all three layers of paint in succession, before the vehicle goes into the oven.

In the past, a vehicle would have to bake between the primer and topcoat applications. The new process reduces energy consumption, cost and emissions, while increasing productivity, Nissan said.

"The paint plant achieves new benchmarks globally for Nissan," said Mike Clemmer, paint and plastics plant manager. "It's the most advanced paint system we have."

The process uses a waterborne spraying system, instead of an oil-based system, to help reduce air pollution. The plant also has smaller paint booths and uses recycled air and dedicated water heaters instead of a central boiler system.

Department of Energy Better Building Challenge

The new plant will reduce VOC emissions by 70 percent, Nissan said.

Eco-friendly Construction

Construction followed an eco-friendly approach, with management of construction site waste and recycling of onsite materials included as project requirements.

According to Nissan, 72 percent of "identified recyclable commodities" (e.g., wood, metal, cardboard, masonry) were kept out of the landfill. In addition, managing utilities usage during construction was a priority.

The new facility has a white PVC plastic roof to held reduce heat and air-conditioning costs, the company said.

"The energy savings is a big part of it, but the decision to build the new paint plant wasn't based on that alone," Travis Parman, director of corporate communications, told The Tennessean.

"That was a 30-year-old plant that was near the end of its lifespan; this is much more efficient, reduces maintenance costs, and makes it easier to achieve the high quality that's required," Parman said.

Better Buildings Project

The plant is Nissan's Showcase Project for the Department of Energy's Better Buildings Better Plants Challenge. The challenge supports commercial and industrial building owners by providing technical assistance and solutions to energy efficiency, according to the DOE. 


The new 250,000-square-foot plant is Nissan's "Showcase Project" for the Department of Energy's "Better Buildings, Better Plants" challenge.

Overall, Nissan has committed to reducing energy use in its three U.S. plants by 25% by 2020 as part of the challenge and as part of the company's global environmental action plan, the Nissan Green Program 2016

Nissan's Green Program focuses on "reducing environmental impacts of corporate activities and pursuing harmony between resource consumption and ecology by promoting and widening the application of innovative green technologies, energy management and fuel-efficient vehicles."

The Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant became the first passenger-vehicle manufacturing plant to get ISO 50001 and Superior Energy Performance certifications, the company said.

Nissan is also an Energy Star Partner and was awarded Energy Star Partner of the Year in 2010 and 2011, plus the Sustained Excellence honor in 2012. The Smyrna plant has received the Energy Star distinction for  seven years.


Tagged categories: Automotive coatings; Emissions; Energy efficiency; Green building; Paint application; Primers; Topcoats; U.S. Department of Energy; VOC emissions

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