Definitions

  • Biogas, a mixture of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), is produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. This is called anaerobic digestion or methanisation. The inputs making up the matter to be processed include food crop residues, effluent from livestock farming, intermediate crops, and organic waste from local authorities and industries. Biogas is therefore a 100% renewable energy source.
  • Biomethane results from the purification of biogas, to give it the same properties as natural gas. Used as fuel to serve end uses (heating, cooking, industry) or as fuel for transport or to generate electricity, biomethane is generally transported and stored using existing gas infrastructure, but it can just as easily be used for needs in the immediate vicinity.
  • Regional methanisation: organic matter is collected from the area surrounding the methanisation unit and can be of agricultural or industrial origin or from local authorities. The natural biological breakdown process in the absence of oxygen produces a biogas that can be used in natural gas distribution or transport networks. The digestate produced is also recovered and returned locally to the soil, replacing synthetic fertilisers.
  • The circular economy refers to an economic model that aims to produce goods and services in a sustainable way, by limiting the consumption and waste of resources (raw materials, water, energy) and reducing the production of waste. It breaks away from the linear economic model (extract, manufacture, consume, throw away), replacing it with a “circular” economic model.

A booming industrial sector

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As a vector of flexibility in both its production and use, biomethane is set to play a major role in a fully carbon-free energy system by 2050. The Law on Energy Transition for Green Growth sets the target of bringing the share of renewable gas to 10% of gas consumption in France by 2030.

 

Since the first facilities started production in 2011, French biomethane has seen the strongest expansion in Europe.

Great value creation in the regions

The circular economy refers to an economic model that aims to produce goods and services in a sustainable way, by limiting the consumption and waste of resources (raw materials, water, energy) and reducing the production of waste. It breaks away from the linear economic model (extract, manufacture, consume, throw away), replacing it with a “circular” economic model.

 

A true example of what the circular economy can represent for a region, the development of biomethane nourishes an entire ecosystem of players, stimulating the local economy and preserving nature.

 

In particular, it offers farmers a tremendous opportunity to diversify their activity. Thanks to methanisation, their organic waste becomes a resource: farming residues and livestock effluents can be recovered to produce gas. The digestate, a by-product of methanisation, can replace mineral fertilisers to improve the soil and fertilise crops. By engaging in biomethane production, farmers become part of a communal project: contributing to the greening of the energy mix.

 

By recovering organic waste through methanisation, industry can also reduce its environmental footprint. In the immediate vicinity of factories, the methanisation unit simplifies the environmental approach under economic conditions that are often more advantageous for the recovery of co-products and by-products.

 

Finally, local authorities are finding a new outlet in the biomethane sector for their food waste, fermentable household waste and green waste.

 

For each new unit put into service, the sector creates an average of three to four direct, non-relocatable jobs, directly contributing to the competitiveness of the regions and strengthening France’s energy independence from the natural gas exporting countries.
 

chaîne de valeur biogaz

Energy for the good of the planet

Produced locally, this energy supports the energy transition. Made from organic matter, biogas is a 100% renewable energy allowing a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality. Methanisation allows for the recovery of waste and a reduction in the use of chemical fertilisers, which results in a better return of nutrients to the soil, essential for organic growth, and a reduction in CO2 emissions linked to the manufacture of imported chemical fertilisers.

 

Biomethane has properties similar to natural gas and can be used as a fuel, to produce heat, electricity or to run vehicles.

 

As a relatively recent technique, the installation of a methanisation unit may raise questions. However, the production of biogas is subject to very strict regulations: the breakdown of waste is carried out in the absence of oxygen, without contact with the ambient air and therefore without any smell. The risks of ammonia release into the air or pollution of water by the digestate are closely monitored. Landscape integration is taken into account when choosing the site for units, the noise emissions from methanisation are minimal and traffic is kept to a minimum.

 

ENGIE and biomethane

The ENGIE Group aims to support the sector’s industrialisation, to reduce costs by about 30% by 2030 and achieve parity with natural gas.

 

Supported by the ENGIE Group, ENGIE Bioz initiates, develops, finances, builds and operates biomethane injection units in the French gas network, with a long-term commitment to the regions. 

 

The purpose of a methanisation unit is to produce biomethane by collecting various types of organic matter from the surrounding region. This may be of agricultural or industrial origin, or come from local authorities. ENGIE Bioz is among the leaders in renewable gas production, with 14 plants in operation.

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We are convinced that biomethane will play an essential role in the European energy mix. ENGIE Bioz brings recognised expertise to each stage of methanisation projects, from feasibility studies through to operation. With its regional presence and knowledge, the Group takes action throughout the value chain, from the development and financing of projects up to the sale to end customers, by bringing together all the local players around adapted solutions. The Group is therefore a leader in the production and development of this form of energy. 

 

Through the Methanisation Working Group of the Strategic Committee for the New Energy Systems Sector, the Group is committed to improving the overall competitiveness of green gases.

Perspectives du biogaz