BMW’s ambitious new project seeks to transform landfill gas into hydrogen

BMW’s ambitious new project seeks to transform landfill gas into hydrogen

July 30, 2011 0 By Bret Williams

BMW has unveiled ambitious plans for a new project in which researchers will experiment with converting landfill gases into hydrogen. The illustrious auto maker has been an advocate for hydrogen fuel for some time now and is well aware of the inherent flaws in conventional fuel cell systems. BMW has long held that fuel cells can benefit the environment beyond its uses for zero-emission transportation – they can also be used to clean the air and dispose of certain noxious gases.

The first phase of the project will focus on the concept of converting landfill gas, which is mostly comprised of methane, into highly pure hydrogen. If successful, one landfill would be able to provide enough hydrogen to power and entire fleet of vehicles for either transportation or industrial uses.

A myriad of government agencies from all over the world are coming together to participate in the project. As concerns over the environment and the dwindling supply of oil begin to mount, more nations are looking for alternatives to costly fossil-fuels while also trying to establish themselves as independent in terms of energy. The participants of the project will see it through to the end and there may be a number of clean energy policies inspired by the collaborative effort in the future.

BMW has already constructed a massive hydrogen storage and distribution system in South Carolina in preparation for the launch of the project. Testing will bLandfill Gasese conducted within the facility as researchers explore a number of methods in turning methane into hydrogen. One such method is the use of microbial fuel cells – fuel cells that are loaded with bacteria that produce hydrogen from waste.