Against the background of threats with an embargo on Russian gas, BMW is exploring new investments in solar, geothermal and hydrogen energy.
BMW is exploring new investments in solar, geothermal and hydrogen to reduce its dependence on natural gas, carmaker Milan chief Nedeljkovic told Reuters, warning that an embargo on Russian gas would block the industry.
BMW, which relied on natural gas for 54% of its energy consumption in 2021, is examining where it can add solar panels to its plants and is working with local authorities to transport hydrogen to its plant in Leipzig, Germany.
“Hydrogen is very suitable for reducing or even fully compensating for gas demand,” Nedeljkovic said. “Our industry accounts for about 37% of German gas consumption,” he said, asking what would happen to BMW plants if gas supplies were cut off in Russia.
“Not just BMW, but the whole industry would stop,” Nedeljkovic said.
BMW is preparing for the worst
BMW’s plans reflect the ongoing preparations in German industry to give up Russian gas and come up with a system to streamline available supplies in the event of a sudden supply shutdown.
Beyond Germany, a new plant in Debrecen, Hungary, which BMW said would be the world’s first fully fossil-fuel-free car factory, would rely heavily on solar energy, Nedelkjovic said. the carmaker is also considering the use of geothermal energy.
Geothermal energy is more stable than weather-dependent renewables, but has not seen an increase or investment comparable to wind or solar, partly due to high initial costs and complex drilling licensing processes.
Asked about the potential for nuclear power, which accounts for about half of Hungary’s energy supply but is being phased out in Germany, Nedeljkovic said: “Nuclear power can be a stabilizing factor, especially in these volatile times. For our own production we rely on renewable energy sources ”.