BMW Manufacturing’s original Landfill Gas Project was implemented in 2003 in conjunction with partners Ameresco and Waste Management. Infrastructure was installed at the Palmetto Landfill to collect, clean and compress the methane gas; the gas is then transported through a 9.5 mile pipeline to the BMW plant. The methane gas coming from the landfill is used to more efficiently cogenerate electrical power and heat water.
In 2009, BMW replaced the original 4 turbines with 2 new highly efficient turbines. The new turbines increased the electrical output from 14% up to nearly 30%. Currently, around 40% of the plant’s total energy requirements are provided by methane gas. The implementation of the new landfill gas program reduces CO2 emissions by 92,000 tons per year. This is up from 65,000 tons previously reported for the four turbines operating 85% of the time. The increase in CO2 emission reductions with the new turbines is due to the increase in electricity generation. To date, the project has saved BMW an annual average of $3.5 million in energy costs.