BMW recently announced that they have begun the first phase of a project to attempt to convert landfill gas into hydrogen. If successful, the follow-up phase of the project will provide infrastructure for using this hydrogen to fuel BMW’s entire convoy of material handling equipment.
The first phase of the million dollar project will be funded by the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA). Throughout the project, participating companies will include BMW, Advanced Technology International, the Gas Technology Institute, Ameresco, and the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance.
This new project expands on BMW’s commitment to sustainable energy innovations. Since 2003, methane gas has been collected, cleaned and compressed from a local landfill and used to power more than 50% of the BMW plant’s total energy requirements. In 2009, the company invested $12 million in its landfill gas program to further improve overall efficiency. Implementation of the program has reduced CO2 emissions by about 92,000 tons per year and saves around $5 million annually in energy costs.
“This project allows testing of valuable technology to determine if using locally-sourced hydrogen in our fuel cell equipment can provide the necessary performance needed to expand our hydrogen fuel cell fleet,” said Josef Kerscher, President of BMW Manufacturing. “In the spirit of continuous improvement, we are always pursuing additional, sustainable methods of capturing renewable energy, including our existing source of landfill gas.”