South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) is an applied research corporation with over 31 years of experience delivering technology solutions to federal and corporate clients. In 2011, blue moon partnered with SCRA—as well as the BMW Manufacturing Co., the Gas Technology Institute, Ameresco, Inc., and the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance—to develop a “first-in-the-nation” renewable hydrogen fueling system for an industrial fleet.
The project was executed in three successive phases, each dependent upon successful accomplishment of the preceding phase.
In the first phase, SCRA’s project team explored the business parameters that would permit recovering hydrogen from an existing landfill gas (LFG) source, then converting it at scale through an optimized capital equipment investment, and finally providing that hydrogen via a long-term fee-for-services contract to the host site. The analysis compared the “traditional” cost per kilogram of delivered hydrogen versus the cost per kilogram of hydrogen produced on site using the LFG source.
Next, the project demonstrated the technical feasibility of taking the existing LFG stream—one that has been filtered, dried and pre-treated sufficiently for use in gas turbine electrical generator sets—and further cleaning and purifying it to remove any trace contaminants. The hydrogen was recovered using commercially-available steam methane reformation technology. This purified hydrogen was analyzed and compared with hydrogen being delivered by a commercial industrial gas vendor for a period (nominally two months) to ensure results were consistent across the normal daily or weekly variations in LFG composition at the source landfill.
Finally, the hydrogen produced from the LFG source was compressed, stored, and distributed to a single manufacturing facility site for performance evaluation using actual fuel cell-powered MHE.
The result was “green” hydrogen that, when fully scaled, could be used to fuel BMW’s entire fleet of material handling equipment.
South Carolina Research Authority, BMW Manufacturing Co., the Gas Technology Institute, Ameresco, Inc., South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance
Addressing social and economic causes and effects
—Bill Mahoney, SCRA CEO
“This landfill gas-to-hydrogen project at BMW will seek to demonstrate a first-of-its-kind solution that will serve as a model for other private sector companies. I am confident that this solution to combine renewably-generated hydrogen with clean, efficient fuel cell technology will improve productivity, reduce environmental pollutants and relieve electrical power demand from the grid and am optimistic that it will be replicated nationally.”