Spartanburg, South Carolina – BMW is investing US$12 million to expand the capacity and efficiency of its landfill methane “Gas-to-Energy” program at its assembly plant in South Carolina.
The new system, which is nearing completion, will include two new highly-efficient gas turbine generators capable of producing 11,000 kW of electricity. The two turbines will replace four older, less-efficient turbines. The new turbines have the capacity to increase electrical output from 14 per cent to almost 30 per cent of the plant’s current electric demand.
While the new turbines double the overall electrical output using the same amount of methane gas, over 60 per cent of the plant’s total energy requirements continue to be provided by methane gas produced at the nearby landfill.
In addition to adding larger turbines and heat recovery boilers, BMW will integrate a new specialized treatment system to remove siloxanes, a compound common to landfill gas and potentially destructive to gas turbines.
BMW’s original landfill gas project was implemented in December 2002, and collects, cleans and compresses methane gas from the Palmetto Landfill near Spartanburg, transporting it through a 9.5-mile (15 km) pipeline to the automotive plant, compressing and then using it to power four gas turbine generators. To date, the project has saved the company an average of $5 million per year in energy costs. The new turbines are expected to save an additional $2 million per year, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 92,000 tons per year.