Corporate Sustainability

Gas to Energy Project

In early 2003, four turbines located at BMW Manufacturing Co.’s Energy Center came alive with the combustion of methane gaspiped in from the nearby Palmetto Landfill. At that moment, the facility’s environmental leadership, again, broke new ground.

Inside the Energy Center, the methane gas is used to turn the turbines which supply about 50% of the total energy demands for the BMW campus.

 In 2009, BMW replaced the original four turbines with two new highly efficient turbines. The new turbines increase the electrical output from 14% up to almost 30%. Implementation of the new landfill gas program reduces CO2 emissions by 92,000 tons per year or the equivalent to the benefit of planting over 23,000 acres of trees annually (roughly 30 times the size of New York’s Central Park).

To date, the project has saved BMW an average of $5 million annually in energy costs. The new turbines installed in 2009, should return an additional average annual cost savings to BMW of up to $2 million.

The turbines are powered by the facility’s unique Gas-to-Energy project. Developed by engineers from BMW and partners, Ameresco and Waste Management, the alternative energy system captures methane gas from the landfill and uses it to more efficiently cogenerate electrical power and heat water. The pressurized gas is then transported to BMW’s Energy Center.