The first automaker to collaborate with dairy farms on renewable energy projects, BMW of North America and California Bioenergy (CalBio) announced an expanded partnership to include Bar 20 Dairy, a farm based in Kerman, CA. The collaboration aims to power EVs in California with clean energy, and generate cleaner air in the state by leveraging the latest biodigester technology to create renewable energy by capturing methane from manure to feed back into the power grid.
The new, next generation climate-smart dairy technology captures methane from manure and turns it into renewable energy without combustion, offsetting 100% of carbon emissions and sending renewable energy back to the electric grid to power EVs in a clean way. It will also result in critical methane reductions to help the state meet its short and long-term climate goals.
The methane emission reductions at the farm, when combined with the renewable energy generation, result in carbon emission reductions equivalent to providing clean power to over 17,000 electric vehicles per year. The project will also provide significant local air quality benefits in Northern and Central California, while furthering the state’s ambitious clean transportation goals.
At BMW, we continue to pursue new ways to bring sustainability to all aspects of our vehicles—including the electricity powering our EVs. Our partnership with CalBIO represents an innovative way to help drive renewable energy investment, which not only powers our vehicles with clean energy, but also reduces methane emissions at dairy farms and brings a new revenue source to agricultural communities. We hope to expand this forward thinking model in the future, bringing more biodigester investment to farms throughout the US and continuing to provide clean energy to EV drivers.
What makes the digester at Bar 20 Dairy farm unique is how the fuel cell technology creates ultra-clean renewable electricity on site. The system is efficient, producing twice as much electricity as conventional generators using the same amount of biogas. By capturing methane that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and efficiently making clean, renewable electricity, the project is one of the cleanest sources of energy in the state. The use of electric fuel reduces carbon emissions, as well as smog producing emissions and other pollutants that impact air quality.
In bringing together the best technology from Silicon Valley with the best technology from the Central Valley, we’re really doing something special for California. This ultra-clean, biogas-fueled, on-dairy, self-generation power system scales from small to large dairies. We’re excited to now be able to demonstrate a large-scale system capable of generating one megawatt base load 24 x 7 that provides grid resiliency, and greatly improves local air quality while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to the varied environmental benefits, the partnership also brings new revenue to family farms and agricultural communities through this production of clean transportation fuel. Under the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program, BMW generates environmental credits with dairy farms for these partnerships, both sharing the value of these credits. This type of innovative, cross-sector alignment not only helps farm communities with new revenue, but also serves as a model to accelerate the adoption of biodigesters at more farms in California and beyond.