Recycled Landfill Methane to Help Power BMW Plant

Recycled Landfill Methane to Help Power BMW Plant

a href=http://www.greenbiz.com/frame/1.cfm?targetsite=http://www.bmwusa.com>BMW Manufacturing Corp. has announced that it will recycle methane gas generated at a nearby landfill to fuel gas turbines at its North Carlonia-based factory.

The initiative is part of BMW's Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project, supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Landfill Methane Outreach Program, which began in 1994 as a means of converting landfill gas into clean-burning, cost-effective, useable energy.

"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 company says the 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.

According to the U.S. EPA, 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.

The efficient cogeneration of electricity and hot water has been a part of BMW's overall plan since construction began on its North Carolina 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,” said Hitt. “We strive to be a good environmental partner with the community by simultaneously improving energy utilization and regional air quality.”

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.

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.