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Landfill Methane Outreach Program

Project Profile

BMW Manufacturing Landfill Gas Energy Projects

LMOP Award Winner
Location:
Greer, South Carolina
End User(s):
BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC
Sector(s):
Auto manufacturing
Landfill(s):
Palmetto Landfill
Landfill Size:
19.3 million tons waste-in-place (2007)
Project Type:
Combined Heat and Power (cogeneration - 2 gas turbines) and Direct Thermal (23 paint shop oven burners and indirect heating of paint shop)
Project Size:
11 megawatts (MW) and 800 standard cubic feet per minute (scfm)
Savings:
$1 million/year
Environmental Benefits:
Carbon sequestered annually by 13,800 acres of pine or fir forests, annual greenhouse gas emissions from 12,300 passenger vehicles, or carbon dioxide emissions from 150,200 barrels of oil consumed. Annual energy savings equate to powering 6,500 homes and heating 2,700 homes. Estimated emissions reductions of 0.0176 million metric tons of carbon equivalents.
LMOP Partners Involved:
Ameresco, BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC, Durr Systems, Inc., South Carolina Energy Office, Waste Management, Inc.
Last Updated:
7/20/2010

How many people would imagine that landfill gas (LFG) had a hand in the creation of the BMW Roadster? At its South Carolina assembly plant, BMW began using gas from Waste Management's Palmetto Landfill in 2003 to fuel four gas turbine cogeneration units (4.4 MW capacity) and recover 72 MMBtu/hr of hot water. The turbines fulfilled about 25 percent of the plant's electrical needs and nearly all of its thermal needs. For these outstanding "green" efforts, BMW was awarded LMOP's 2003 Project of the Year.

With excess LFG available and a continued desire to go "green," BMW turned to the largest consumer of energy in the entire plant: the paint shop. Employing Durr Systems, the original designer of the paint shop, BMW converted equipment to burn LFG and still had enough excess LFG to burn in one of three boiler systems. This effort earned BMW Manufacturing recognition as LMOP's 2006 Energy Partner of the Year.

The original project's highlights include:

  • Nearly 70 percent of BMW's energy consumption comes from LFG.
  • World's first automotive paint shop to integrate use of LFG in process equipment.
  • A 9.5-mile pipeline crosses a river, two creeks, an interstate, and BMW's test track, delivering about 4,800 scfm of filtered and dehydrated landfill gas.
  • Protection from rising and fluctuating natural gas prices over a 20-year contract.
  • According to BMW, a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to driving 105 million miles per year, or more than 4,000 times around the earth.

In 2009, BMW replaced the four gas turbines with two more efficient gas turbines with a total capacity of 11 MW.

Former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who attended the 2003 project's grand opening, stated, "This is a win-win for everyone. 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."

This LFG energy 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. —Dr. Helmut Leube, President, BMW Manufacturing Co.

Durr Systems and BMW should be congratulated for implementing one of the most ambitious landfill gas energy projects in North America. This innovation paves the way for automakers and all manufacturers to significantly reduce their fixed costs and the consumption of fossil fuels. —Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, United States House of Representatives

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