Tesla has faced significant scrutiny over water use at its Gigafactory Berlin over the years, though the automaker has recently highlighted its water recycling efforts in production at the plant.
On Wednesday, the Tesla Manufacturing page on X stated in a post that up to 100 percent of Giga Berlin’s process water is recycled using a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant. In addition, the post included a photo of the water treatment plant, showing several tanks of multiple sizes, as well as piping leading around the area and presumably to some of the production areas.
High tech not only in production – at Giga Berlin we recycle up to 100% of our process water in our state-of-the-art waste water treatment plant. Recycling is key to sustainability pic.twitter.com/QXAAg6nDQi
— Tesla Manufacturing (@gigafactories) December 13, 2023
During construction in 2020, Tesla faced protests at the Grünheide location over groundwater consumption as it navigated the German regulatory process. Later, the environmental groups Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) and Green League went on to file a lawsuit against the state of Brandenburg over increases to the Tesla factory’s allowed water consumption, saying that the decision had been made without performing any testing.
More recently, Tesla shared plans to expand Giga Berlin to reach an annual production capacity of one million cars, but was rejected in August by the Strausberg-Erkner Water Association (WSE) partly due to a lack of supply. Tesla had previously said that it could perform the expansions without increasing water consumption, and the company was later backed by the state’s Environmental Agency.
Additionally, Brandenburg Minister of Agriculture Axel Vogel said in October that Tesla Giga Berlin’s water consumption in its first full year of production was far lower than the amount the company had even been approved for—likely in part due to the above wastewater treatment plant.
Vogel noted that Giga Berlin used just 300,000 cubic meters of water in 2022, although it had been approved for up to 1.8 million cubic meters.
In addition, Tesla’s water use was significantly less during the year than several other businesses in the regional distribution area, including the LEAG coal plant at 44.8 million cubic meters, the Premnitz waste incineration plant at 23 million cubic meters, an oil refinery in Schwedt at 13.5 million cubic meters, and the Klaistow asparagus farm at 1.09 million cubic meters.