BMW wants to make power from poo

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Words: Nile Bijoux
2 Dec 2019

BMW, like most carmakers, is working to reduce its carbon footprint through zero-emission vehicles and carbon-neutral power sources. Its American arm is also extending its knowledge into the farming industry where it reckons it can produce enough energy from one dairy farm to power every Mini or BMW electric vehicle sold in California.

BMW, like most carmakers, is working to reduce its carbon footprint through zero-emission vehicles and carbon-neutral power sources. Its American arm is also extending its knowledge into the farming industry where it reckons it can produce enough energy from one dairy farm to power every Mini or BMW electric vehicle sold in California.

BMW and Straus Organic Dairy Farm in California are working together to use ‘methane biodigesters’ to create energy. These biodigesters are devices that capture and store biogasses like methane created from the decomposition of manure.

Methane from livestock is a major contributor to carbon emissions. As for New Zealand, methane gasses from ruminant livestock (sheep and cattle) amounts to almost one third of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions, and it is the largest single contributor.

As well as helping reduce emissions from both their farms and the auto industry, farmers can also earn more money by selling energy made to power providers.

“With the current climate-change crisis, the relationship we’re forging with BMW is essential,” says Albert Straus, founder and CEO of Straus Family Creamery.

“In addition to being a great collaboration, we are developing the blueprint for a model that can generate revenue for other farmers throughout California.”

The programme has the potential to go global, but the hardest thing will be training the cows to use a toilet.

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