U.S. BMW Auto Plant Harness Landfill Gas

BMW Manufacturing Corp. began recycling methane gas drawn from the Palmetto Landfill near Spartanburg as an energy to source supply the company’s manufacturing facility with 25 percent of its energy needs.

Spartanburg, South Carolina – May 5, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “This is a win-win for everyone,” said Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Christine Whitman. “It avoids the need to vent methane directly into the air at the landfill. It yields significant amounts of clean energy. And, by avoiding 55,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, it results in cleaner, healthier air for everyone to breathe.” BMW’s project is unique in that the methane gas is used to fuel four turbines at the BMW factory, which produce electricity and hot water. This efficient cogeneration of electricity and hot water has been a part of BMW’s overall plan since construction began on the plant in 1993. BMW’s landfill project is the only project that co-generates electricity and hot water for use at an industrial location remote from the landfill. In order to use the gas, a 9.5-mile pipeline was built from Palmetto Landfill to BMW Manufacturing Corp. BMW’s project is unique in the fact that most other landfill gas projects create energy at the landfill and send through wires. BMW will pipe gas to drive generators that will recover sufficient energy to heat the equivalent of 15,000 homes per year. “BMW wants to do whatever it can to make Upstate South Carolina a better place to live,” said Helmut Leube, president of BMW Manufacturing Corp. “This project allows BMW to take a wasted source of energy and use it to generate electricity, which benefits the environment and area residents through lower emissions.” BMW’s Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project supports the EPA’s efforts in the Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP), which began in 1994 as a means of converting landfill gas into clean-burning, cost- effective, useable energy. Waste Management, which owns and operates the Palmetto Landfill, has been developing landfill gas-to-energy projects for more than 15 years and currently supplies landfill gas to 69 gas-to-energy projects in 21 states. BMW is a charter member of the EPA’s National Environmental Performance Track that recognizes companies for their environmental stewardship and performance. The company is on the Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index, which rates environmentally friendly companies.
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