BMW in partnership with Bio2Watt has launched a 10-year renewable energy agreement that will see green energy powering Plant Rosslyn now and in years to come.


 

The 10th of October 2015 was a momentous day for the global BMW Group. It was the date that Plant Rosslyn received its first supply of green energy.

The journey began with a partnership, between like-minded entities – fuelled by a desire to move toward the future of sustainability, on South African soil. The goal was to create a commercially viable plant that could turn waste into electricity – but it was through dedication, perseverance and a touch of creativity that we were able to succeed.

The journey began with a partnership, between like-minded entities – fuelled by a desire to move toward the future of sustainability, on South African soil. The goal was to create a commercially viable plant that could turn waste into electricity – but it was through dedication, perseverance and a touch of creativity that we were able to succeed.

When BMW Group South Africa commissioned Bio2Watt (Pty) Ltd along with the support and funding of the City of Tshwane, Beefcor, Eskom and various committed stakeholders – it was clear it was going to be a hefty undertaking.

Because this had never been done before in the country, it was an extraordinary eight year journey which saw 1500 pages of legal documents, R8m in legal fees and the ability to create 10 jobs per megawatt as part of the journey. The fact that the Bio2Watt facility is now up and running is testament to the impact of powerful partnerships.

The Bio2Watt biogas plant is located in Bronkhorstspruit, on the premises of one of South Africa’s larger feedlots (Beefcor) and an agricultural stronghold in Gauteng. About 40 000 tons per annum of cattle manure and a further 20 000 tons of mixed organic waste is fed into two anaerobic digesters that produce the biogas feedstock for a combined heat and power application.

The plant is also equipped with grid access and sufficient water supplied by Beefcor’s storm water collection dams. The City of Tshwane is also a key supplier of waste to the project.

The process begins with organic waste, which is directed into a digester where biogas is produced and then goes into a gas engine to produce electricity. This is inserted into the power grid for uptake by power purchasers like BMW. In this way, the project is helping us strengthen supply to the Eskom Grid, but at the same time promotes more sustainable, green forms of energy being produced and is economically viable.

Sean Thomas, CEO of Bio2Watt, says: “Having BMW as a partner on this project created credibility, which as a start-up company I wouldn’t have had. We have kick-started an industry from waste and have created a precedent in South Africa to show that it actually can be done.”

At present, 25 – 30 percent of Plant Rosslyn’s electricity requirements will be generated from the facility. However, the 10-year renewable energy agreement between BMW and Bio2Watt will see BMW South Africa drawing even closer to our goal of transitioning to 100 percent energy supply from renewable sources.

It’s been a major achievement for the BMW Group as a whole, and has seen BMW Plant Rosslyn joining BMW Plant Spartanburg and BMW Plant Leipzig in leading the way to sustainable vehicle production on a global scale.