Biogas plant in South Africa.

Renewable Energies
: The BMW Group is a leader in the use of renewable energy in production and value creation

How is this goal realised in concrete terms?

January 2019. Renewable energies play an important part in lowering CO2 emissions from our production activities. The BMW Group has therefore set itself the goal of using only power from renewable energy sources at all its locations worldwide by 2020.

In South Africa, we achieved the first major milestone towards this back in 2007, when energy expert Sean Thomas launched the project Bio2Watt. A herd of around 30,000 cattle, combined with waste from regional food producers, provided a solid foundation for his plan to open a biogas plant. All that is needed for the process of converting waste into methane-based biogas are water and bacteria. The water comes from wastewater in the farms’ contamination dams, so there is no need to draw on the country’s scarce drinking-water reserves. The biomass remaining from the fermentation process also serves as organic fertiliser for the fields – reducing the use of chemical fertilisers and providing the soil with nutrients.

In the BMW Group, Thomas found an attractive partner with an interest in running its Rosslyn plant solely on renewable energies by 2020 – an ambitious goal in a country like South Africa, which has relied on coal for energy for years and is one of the world’s biggest producers of CO2 emissions.

The biogas plant has been generating electricity for the BMW Group since late 2015. Electricity from biogas currently provides around 31 percent of the energy our Rosslyn plant needs. This enabled us to avoid nearly 22,000 tons of CO2 in 2018 and saved us more than 2,000,000 euros.

This certainly brings us closer to our goal of supplying the plant with 100% renewable electricity by 2020 and becoming a leader in the use of renewable energies.