Contact Us


All News Releases By Date



Release Date: 04/30/2003
Contact Information: Carl Terry, EPA Media Relations (404) 562-8327
During a visit to Greer, South Carolina today, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman toured BMW Manufacturing Corporation's "Waste to Energy Project." BMW has fully begun recycling 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.  The project is an excellent example of an innovative approach to meeting energy needs while protecting the environment.

"This is a win-win for everyone," said Governor Whitman.  "It avoids the need to burn methane 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."

"BMW wants to do whatever it can to make Upstate South Carolina a better place to live," said Dr. Helmut Leube, President of BMW Manufacturing Corp. "This project allows BMW to take a wasted source of energy and use it to generate electricity, which benefits the environment and area residents through lower emissions."

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.  All other landfill gas projects produce electricity at the landfill and use it only for electricity.  The efficient cogeneration of electricity and hot water has been a part of BMW's overall plan since construction began on the plant in 1993.

Cogeneration is used at many of BMW's worldwide facilities," said Gary Weinreich, BMW's Manager for Environmental Services.  "We are pleased to add a 'Green Power' component by using this renewable energy source., We strive to be a good environmental partner with the community by simultaneously improving energy utilization and regional air quality.

BMW's project supports EPA'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.  Landfills are the largest man-made methane source in the United States.  It is produced as trash decomposes.  When released into the air, it is greenhouse gas and contributes to local smog conditions. 

The project will reduce carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to driving 105 million miles per year or more than 4,000 times around the earth.  The project will also recover sufficient energy to heat the equivalent of 15,000 homes per year.

BMW's partners in this multi-million dollar project are Ameresco Energy Services and Waste Management, Inc.  Ameresco designed, built and own the pipeline, gas processing and gas compression facilities, as well as manages the overall operations of the project.  Waste Management, which owns an 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.

BMW Manufacturing Corp., a subsidiary of BMW AG in Munich, Germany, is a charter member of EPA's National Environmental Achievement Track which recognizes companies for their environmental stewardship and performance.