BMW Manufacturing Company announced August 6 that it received a No. 7 ranking on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new top 20 list of on-site Green Power Partners.
The EPA’s Green Power Partnership recognized these partners for generating the most green electricity on-site. To qualify as an EPA Green Power Partner, the user must be harnessing and deploying green power – solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biogas and/or low-impact hydropower – at their facility rather than at central power plants.
BMW Manufacturing has received this distinction, in large part, due to the ongoing Landfill Gas to Energy program which began in late 2002. For over 6 years, BMW has collected methane gas from the nearby Palmetto Landfill and transported it through a 9.5-mile pipeline to the Plant’s energy center where it provides energy to more than 60 percent of the 2.5 million-square-foot plant.
"EPA commends our leading partners for their continued commitment to protecting the environment by using green power," said Kathleen Hogan, director of the Climate Protection Partnerships Division at EPA. ”By supporting green power, BMW Manufacturing is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, supporting clean energy technologies, and contributing to a clean energy future."
Recently, BMW announced a $12 million investment to add two new, highly efficient gas turbine generators capable of producing 11,000 kilowatts (kW) of electricity. These two new co-generation turbines will replace four older, less-efficient turbines. The new turbines have the capability to increase electrical output from 14 percent up to almost 30 percent of the plant’s current electrical demand.
“BMW’s landfill gas program has greatly contributed to our ongoing commitment to sustainability,” said Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing. “Using methane gas to provide energy for our plant has saved BMW an annual average savings of $5 million in energy costs.”
With the addition of the new turbines, the Landfill Gas project will return an additional average annual cost savings to BMW of up to $2 million and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 92,000 tons per year or the equivalent to the benefit of planting over 23,000 acres of trees annually or 30 times the size of New York’s Central Park.
BMW Manufacturing is completing a $750 million expansion to add 300,000 square feet to their Paint Shop and construct a new 1.2 million square foot Assembly plant. Many new technologies throughout the new construction support BMW’s sharp focus on energy savings, including:
· Installation of a new paint conveyer system technology that reduces overall water consumption in the Paint Shop by 50 percent.
· A new concept for air ventilation that will save an estimated 31 percent of energy when compared to using a conventional ventilation system
· A new Integrated Paint Process that will reduce the paint shop’s waste by nearly 80 percent
In addition, BMW Manufacturing recycles over 83 percent of all waste streams and uses Solar energy to power the a trash compactor in the company’s main cafeteria. Use of the solar-powered trash compactor dramatically reduces the frequency of trash collection, reducing fuel cost and exhaust fumes. This solar-powered trash compactor is the first in use at an automotive plant in the United States.
BMW Manufacturing is a subsidiary of BMW AG in Munich, Germany and is the global producer of the BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle and X6 Sports Activity Coupe. In addition to the South Carolina manufacturing facility, BMW North American subsidiaries include sales, marketing and financial services operations in the United States, Canada and throughout Latin America; and a design firm and technology office in California.