COP21 Solutions – Biogas heating plants: using renewables to feed district heating networks
As part of responding to climate change, the increasing scarcity of natural resources and the rising overall cost of energy, the ENGIE Group is backing the diversification of energy resources to feed district heating networks. Produced using a natural process involving the breakdown of organic waste, biogas provides a local source of renewable energy. ENGIE is working actively to develop and promote this energy source.
Context and challenges
The construction of innovative heating networks is a solution that helps local authorities to reduce their environmental impact and engage with the energy transition.
Produced using a natural process involving the breakdown of organic waste (green waste, household trash, agricultural waste, food industry waste and industrial waste) in an oxygen-free environment, biogas provides a local source of renewable energy. In heating plants, it can be used as fuel to heat water for district heating networks, but it can also be used to generate electrical power. Where both uses co-exist, the process is known as cogeneration.
The town of Pont-à-Mousson in the Meurthe-et-Moselle region of France opted last June to install a district heating network in which biogas would be the main fuel used. Biogas combustion will be used to generate heat at the Lesménils non-hazardous waste storage facility operated by Suez Environnement subsidiary SITA.
The heating network installed by Cofely Services will be a first in North-Eastern France for this ENGIE company. Cofely Services will also operate a gas cogeneration plant to generate electricity. By supporting the Pont-à-Mousson local authority, Cofely Services will be effectively acting on its commitment to develop innovative solutions that enhance the regional energy mix.
Commissioning of the district heating network is scheduled for the end of this year. It will then be operated by Cofely Services under a 27-year contract.
This new facility will make it possible to avoid 2,720 metric tons of CO2 emissions every year; equivalent to the amount of CO2 generated by all the cars in Pont-à-Mousson over a three-year period. Customer energy bills will fall by at least 10%.
- Pont-à-Mousson biogas heating plant launch: end 2015
- The 4.2-mile network will deliver heating to the equivalent of 1,250 homes
- 85% of demand covered by renewables
- 10% lower energy bills for network customers
- Annual reduction of 2,720 metric tons in CO2 emissions
- 68,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided over the 27-year contract period.
Schematic diagram of biogas-fueled district heating network operation
The new 15-GWh plant in Pont à Mousson will provide heat for a 4.2-mile network supplying the equivalent of 1,250 homes.