A 100% renewable gas
Produced from organic materials, biomethane is a clean energy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves air quality.
It has properties similar to natural gas and can be used as heating, electricity and fuel.
Energy efficiency and waste reduction
Biogas allows the recovery of waste and the reduction of the use of chemical fertilizers: methanization makes it possible to transform 95% of waste into fertilizers, with a beneficial effect on the soil. This also reduces CO2 emissions related to the manufacture of chemical fertilizers (1 kg of chemical fertilizer generates 7 kg of CO2 emissions).
A natural process on an industrial scale
Various processes make it possible to produce and use biomethane on an industrial scale and make it an efficient and innovative energy to complete the energy mix.
The three biomethane production processes:
There are three generations of biomethane production, differentiated by the organic matter used and the transformation process.
- First-generation biomethane produced by decomposition comes from the anaerobic decomposition of organic waste, which is the result of the natural breakdown of organic matter. This raw or slightly pre-treated gas is called biogas, and can be used locally to produce electricity, heat, or both in a combined-cycle process. After further purification, the biogas becomes biomethane, 100% renewable energy of the same quality as natural gas, which can be used in vehicles or injected into the natural gas network. ENGIE has developed two biomethane industrialization projects in France:
- The injection of first-generation biomethane into the natural gas network in Lille.
- The use of biomethane fuel in vehicles in Forbach.
- Second-generation biomethane is produced by gasification from ligno-cellulosic biomass (wood and straw), using a "thermochemical conversion" process. This process is carried out in two stages:
- Firstly, the biomass is converted into synthetic gas.
- This synthetic gas is then transformed into biomethane by catalytic synthesis.
ENGIE is developing this technology, and it should be available by 2017.
- Third-generation biomethane comes from the direct transformation of micro-algae cultivated in high-yield photosynthetic reactors using natural light, water and minerals, while recycling CO2. This is an emerging technology due to be developed on an industrial scale by 2020-2030.
ENGIE and biomethane
ENGIE is actively involved in the development and recovery of this energy, capitalizing on its technical and industrial expertise as well as its ability to manage the entire gas chain.
For ENGIE, biomethane is an energy of the future that will play an essential role in Europe's energy mix. Non-polluting and locally produced, it supports the energy transition. ENGIE therefore offers biomethane to the market, and is involved at every stage in its production right through to its transportation and marketing.