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Auto plant, vegetable cannery break ground with partnership

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Axel Bense of Mercedes-Benz Vans (from left to right), Commissioner Hugh Weathers from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, Marc Fetten of GreenGasUSA and McCall Swink of McCall Farms gather for the press conference. (Photo/Provided)Ladson’s Mercedes-Benz plant and a vegetable cannery in Effingham have struck up an unlikely partnership — the first of its kind in South Carolina.

During a recent ribbon cutting Gov. Henry McMaster announced that the Charleston plant is the first renewable natural gas project in the state.

The natural gas, converted by GreenGasUSA from methane emissions at the McCall Farms commercial vegetable cannery, is used to maintain building temperature and humidity levels in the plant and to heat water used in the plant’s paint shop. Maintaining a steady, pre-defined temperature is critical during the painting process, according to a news release.

Axel Bense of president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vans (left to right), Commissioner Hugh Weathers of South Carolina Department of Agriculture, Gov. Henry McMaster, Arnhelm Mittelbach of Mercedes-Benz, Congresswoman Nancy Mace poses in front of Sprinter Van. (Photo/Provided)The use of renewable natural gas, also abbreviated as RNG, to operate equipment is an important step in the company’s sustainability journey to use green production practices and technologies to offset carbon emission, according to the release. The manufacturer aims to have all production plants 100% powered by green energy by the end of the year.

“At MBV Charleston sustainability is a core pillar in our plant strategy,” Axel Bense, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said in the release. “We are proud to continue making strides toward our goal of producing vans in a sustainable manner and becoming CO2 neutral. Not only are we the first RNG project in the state of South Carolina, we are also the first plant in Mercedes-Benz AG to utilize RNG.”

Charleston’s Mercedes-Benz Vans plant, which has assembled more than 260,000 Sprinter and Metris Vans since 2006, will introduce the next generation eSprinter to its production line during the second half of 2023.

Reach Molly Hulsey at

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