BMW Manufacturing Corp. to Recycle Landfill Methane Gas for Use as Energy Source
BMW Manufacturing Corp. announced today it will recycle methane gas generated at the Palmetto Landfill near Spartanburg to fuel gas turbines at the factory.
BMW’s Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project will support the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 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.
Landfills are the largest human-made methane source in the United States. Methane is produced as trash decomposes. When released into the air, it is a greenhouse gas and contributes to local smog conditions.
BMW’s landfill gas-to-energy project will reduce carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to removing 61,000 automobiles from the U.S. highways each year. And the project will recover sufficient energy to heat the equivalent of 10,000 homes per year.
EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman stated recently, “I am excited about the role the EPA will play in promoting energy efficiency and conservation, as well as safeguarding our environment, by pursuing alternative sources to assure America’s energy security.”
“BMW wants to do whatever it can to make Upstate South Carolina a better place to live,” said Robert Hitt, BMW’s Manager for Media and Public Affairs. “This project allows BMW to take a wasted energy source and use it to generate electricity, which benefits the environment and area residents through lower emissions.”
The efficient cogeneration of electricity and hot water has been a part of BMW’s overall plan since construction began on this plant in 1993.
“Cogeneration is used at many of BMW’s worldwide facilities. We are pleased to add a ‘Green Power’ component by using this renewable energy source. We strive to be a good environmental partner with the community by simultaneously improving energy utilization and regional air quality,” Hitt said.
To utilize the gas, a 9.5-mile pipeline will be built from the landfill to BMW Manufacturing. Construction on the Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project will begin in July 2002, with a target completion date near the end of the year.
BMW’s partners in this multi-million dollar project are Ameresco Energy Services and Waste Management Inc.
Ameresco will design, build and own the pipeline, gas processing and gas compression facilities as well as manage the overall operations of the project once completed.
The company’s project experience includes energy conservation activities with Fortune 500 aerospace and automotive manufacturers, public and private school systems, state and municipal governments, large universities, and government agencies.
“We are very excited to support BMW in meeting its energy and environmental goals through this renewable energy project,” said George Sakellaris, Ameresco president and CEO.
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 Achievement Track that recognizes companies for their environmental stewardship and performance. The company is also a member of the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program. The company is on the Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index, which rates environmentally friendly companies.
BMW Manufacturing Corp. is a subsidiary of BMW AG in Munich, Germany. Its website address is www.bmwusfactory.com. In addition to the South Carolina manufacturing facility, BMW’s North American subsidiaries include sales, marketing and financial services operations in the United States, Canada and throughout Latin America; an information technology consulting and systems integration firm in South Carolina; a production facility in Mexico; and a design firm in California.
Benefits of the Landfill Methane Outreach Project include:
- Use of renewable energy to improve local air quality by lowering regional emissions of greenhouse gases (methane and carbon dioxide)
- Responsible community planning
- Innovation by using a waste as a fuel
- A reliable, local fuel source
- Conservation of fossil fuels