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BMW Studies Landfill Gas to Hydrogen for Car Plant

Waste Management Pipeline
Waste Management Pipeline

BMW used to manufacture the prototype Hydrogen 7 internal combustion driven car that ran off either liquid H2O or gasoline. BMW has discontinued doing so but has found another way to go eco-friendly.

Since 2003, the Spartanburg, South Carolina BMW plant has ported over landfill gas in the form of methane via a 9.5 mile pipeline from a Waste Management site in Wellford, SC. The methane gas is burned to turn a couple of turbines to produce 50-percent of the car plant’s electricity and save around 92,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually that would have been dumped into the atmosphere.

In October 2010, I had talked about how this same BMW plant had decided to buy 85 hydrogen fuel cell powered materials handling trucks (forklifts and palette truck) which now number 100. BMW has been buying the hydrogen from industrial gas supplier Linde.

Now, BMW is going to study using some of this landfill gas and converting it into hydrogen for use in the materials handling trucks. The Spartanburg plant is over 4 million square feet in size and is currently where BMW manufactures their X3 Sport Activity Vehicle.

If successful, it will allow BMW to expand their fleet of materials handling units and become the largest such site in the world to use these hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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10 comments

  1. This is good news. it seams that major companies will eventually go green

  2. Hi,
    Just found your blog and page, and want to say thank you!

    This is not directly related to the post above, but I wanted to bring something to your attention: Have you heard of “Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers” (LOHC) ?

    There’s a study titled “An auspicious alternative to conventional hydrogen storage technologies” that can be found here: LINK REMOVED

    I don’t follow all the details, but basically the idea is to have hydrogen stored in or attached to a liquid carrier. Then you can take away that hydrogen to use in a fuel cell, and the carrier liquid remains in an “empty” state. At a refueling station, the “empty” liquid would be sucked out of the tank and replaced with the “charged” liquid. The empty liquid can be recharged later, it’s really a carrier and does not get used up.

    Fascinating idea — let’s see what will come out of it!

  3. A quote from the conclusion:

    Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHC) are liquid pumpable, easily rechargeable and
    have, at acceptable gravimetric storage densities, similar volumetric storage densities than
    cryogenic liquid hydrogen.
    The off-board recycled fuel can be stored and transported at ambient conditions and does
    not need an entirely new filling station infrastructure.

  4. You know the main benefit of the landfil gas being used is not that it saves using some mined/drilled methane, but that if not piped the methane offgasing of landfills contributes more to GHG because methane is 21X as effective a greenhouse gas than CO2 is.

  5. Hydrogen cars is better option to reduce oil dependency…No doubt that Future Fuel cell vehicles will Deliver Higher Fuel Efficiency and Driving Range.I appreciate the work. test drive and to see this cars on roads..Great going BMW….

  6. Hey I slhuod have thought of that! I’m contacting my nearest landfill now.

  7. Renaldo LokiKola

    While BMW was studying the viability of such a project Air Products made it happen and operational in Orange County, California. There is a time for studying and a time for acting.

  8. It’s seems like Hydrogen would be a great alternative fuel. I know some cities are using it for their vehicles along with propane.

  9. I’m delighted to know this site. A pair of huge thumbs upward, individual!

  10. Absolutely any thumbs up. Excellent luck!

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