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BMW Manufacturing Powers Up with Methane Gas from Landfill

Spartanburg, SC— BMW Manufacturing Corp. began using recycled methane gas as an energy source. The recycled methane gas, drawn from the Palmetto Landfill near Spartanburg, will supply BMW with 25 percent of its energy needs. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman participated in the announcement.

"This is a win-win for everyone. It avoids the need to vent methane directly into the air at the landfill. It yields significant amounts of clean energy. And, by avoiding 55,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, it results in cleaner, healthier air for everyone to breathe," said Whitman.

BMW's project is unique in that the methane gas is used to fuel four turbines at the BMW factory, which produce electricity and hot water. This efficient cogeneration of electricity and hot water has been a part of BMW's overall plan since construction began on the plant in 1993.

BMW's Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project supports the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts in the Landfill Methane Outreach Program, which began in 1994 as a means of converting landfill gas into clean-burning, cost-effective, useable energy.

The facts:

• The energy provided by recycled methane gas will supply BMW Manufacturing Corp. with 25% of its energy needs.

• To utilize the gas, a 9.5-mile pipeline was built from Palmetto Landfill to BMW Manufacturing Corp. BMW's project is unique in the fact that most other landfill gas projects create energy at the landfill and send through wires. BMW will pipe gas to drive generators.

• BMW's landfill project is the only project that co-generates electricity and hot water for use at an industrial location remote from the landfill.

• Landfills are the largest man-made methane source in the United States. Methane is produced as trash decomposes. When released into the air, it is a greenhouse gas and contributes to local smog conditions.

• By recycling methane gas, BMW is able to improve local air quality by lowering regional emissions of greenhouse gases (methane and carbon dioxide).

• BMW's landfill gas-to-energy project will reduce carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to driving 105 million miles per year or more than 4,000 times around the earth.

• BMW's landfill gas-to-energy project will recover sufficient energy to heat the equivalent of 15,000 homes per year.

• Ameresco designed, built and owns the pipeline, gas processing and gas compression facilities, as well as manages the overall operations of the project.

• Waste Management, which owns and operates the Palmetto Landfill, has been developing landfill gas-to-energy projects for more than 15 years and currently supplies landfill gas to 69 gas-to-energy projects in 21 states.


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