Garbage In, Power Out: South Carolina BMW Plant Demonstrates Landfill Gas to Hydrogen Fuel


A BMW manufacturing plant in Greer, South Carolina, demonstrated that fuel cells can be powered by fuel from a unique source: Garbage.

In a first-of-its-kind demonstration, the Energy Department, BMW and project partners Ameresco, Gas Technology Institute and the South Carolina Research Authority powered some of the facility’s fuel cell forklifts with hydrogen produced on-site from biomethane gas at a nearby landfill.

The first phase of the landfill gas-to-hydrogen project showed that a viable business case can be made for large scale operation. The second phase of the project confirmed that commercially-available technologies are available to recover fuel cell-quality hydrogen from a landfill gas source. As the final step in the project, several of BMW’s material handling equipment units were fueled with hydrogen from the project equipment with no detectable difference in performance compared to that achieved when fueled by the existing delivered hydrogen at BMW.