Published on August 12th, 2011 | by Andrew Meggison
South Carolina Research Authority and BMW Push Hydrogen To The Next Level
A pilot program is in action with the goal of converting landfill gas into hydrogen. South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) will fund the first phase of the pilot program that will be run by BMW Manufacturing.
BMW has had a long history of pushing the envelope of sustainable energy. BMW started toying with methane gas back in 2003. Since 2003, methane gas has been collected from a local landfill in South Carolina and used to power upwards of 50% of the South Carolina BMW plant’s energy needs. The success of this program has cut down CO2 emissions by 92,000 tons per year at the plant. Total savings in energy costs is estimated to be about $5 million annually.
In 2010 BMW took a major step in alternative fuel use and installed a hydrogen storage and distribution area within the South Carolina manufacturing plant. BMW uses hydrogen fuel cells to power around 100 vehicles in the plant. The system is currently in the pilot program phase; however, success of this project will allow BMW to transition into a full scale system capable of supporting the largest single site deployment of fuel cell material handling equipment in the world—and it is happening is South Carolina.
With the success of the methane gas program and the blossoming success of the hydrogen fuel cell program, BMW is assessing an idea that would join the two. Partnered with SCRA, BMW is currently weighing out the technical and economic feasibility of converting landfill gas into hydrogen. If the assessment turns out to be positive, BMW says the next step of the project would focus on constructing the necessary infrastructure for using hydrogen to fuel the company’s entire fleet of material handling equipment.
Overall this is positive news. BMW has a great reputation and deep pockets to invest in alternative fuels and better yet, this ground breaking work is being done in the US.
Source: BMW via AutoBlog Green
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.