BMW Manufacturing announced it received a No 7 ranking of the US Environmental Protection Agency's new top-20 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 powerplants. 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 over 60% 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 highly efficient gas turbine generators capable of producing 11,000 kilowatts of electricity. These new co-generation turbines will replace four older, less-efficient turbines. The new turbines have the capability to increase electrical output from 14% up to almost 30% of the plant's current electrical demand. "BMW's landfill gas program has greatly contributed to our ongoing commitment to sustainability," explained Josef Kerscher, President of BMW Manufacturing. "Using methane gas to provide energy for our plant has provided BMW an annual average saving 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 of planting over 23000 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. Installation of a new paint conveyer system technology reduces overall water consumption in the paint shop by 50%.
A new concept for air ventilation will save an estimated 31% of energy.
A new Integrated Paint Process will reduce the paint shop's waste by nearly 80%.
In addition, BMW Manufacturing recycles over 83% 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.