BMW Is Working On Biodigester Technology To Reduce Methane Emissions

Straus Family Creamery, based in Marshall, CA, is an organic creamery that makes products like butter, cream, milk, ice cream, and yogurt.

Straus has partnered with BMW to reduce methane emissions from cow manure using biodigester technology. Methane from manure can be captured to burn in a biodigester which makes electricity.

This electricity is sent back to the grid and the farm can generate revenue.

Why methane?

It traps far more heat than CO2, so it’s a potent greenhouse gas. A law passed in California a couple of years ago requires a 40% reduction in methane emissions by 2030.

BMW is working on enhancing small-scale digester technology because dairy digesters produces double emissions benefits.

  • First, methane is captured from cow manure, preventing it from entering the atmosphere.
  • Second, the methane is combusted to generate renewable electricity, replacing fossil fuel plants that would otherwise supply the grid.

Although the methane is burned to generate the electricity, the resulting CO2 causes significantly less global warming impact.

Methane is regarded as being 28 times more potent than the equivalent amount CO2 from a climate change perspective so BMW decided to work on this first.

Moreover the Air Resources Board regards biodigester electricity as having a ‘negative’ carbon intensity in recognition of this double emissions benefit.

The Straus methane digester decreases yearly methane emissions 1,600 metric tons of CO2e.

The BMW Group is exploring partnerships with additional dairies and hopes to match all of California plug-in electric vehicle charging with dairy farm renewable electricity in the future. 

Reference- BMW online Newsroom, Science Daily, Scientific America, Clean Technica