Green gas: A world first for ENGIE!

By ENGIE - 22 December 2020 - 11:48

The GAYA platform has taken a historic step forward! Our researchers have produced renewable gas from solid non-recyclable waste, offering promising possibilities for ENGIE and the energy transition. 


Recovering non-recyclable solid waste

SRF, or Solid Recovered Fuel, is mostly made up of waste wood, paper, cardboard and plastic resulting from economic activities. However, in the absence of dedicated recycling channels, this type of waste is not recycled. Instead, it goes to landfill or is recovered in incineration or co-incineration plants to produce heat and/or electricity for industry, as a partial or total substitution for fossil resources1. But on 17 November 2020, we made great progress with this resource.


“With GAYA, we have made major scientific advances in the development and industrialisation of renewable gas production sectors. The tests carried out using SRF show that we now know how to produce renewable gas from this type of waste.”  
Adeline Duterque, Director of ENGIE Lab CRIGEN2 under which the Saint-Fons GAYA platform falls.


Green gas produced from non-recyclable waste

The production of the first cubic metres of renewable gas from SRF is a world first achievement  made by researchers at ENGIE Lab CRIGEN and ENGIE Solutions teams at the GAYA semi-industrial R&D platform in Saint-Fons (Rhône, France). And this success comes just a year after the first production of biomethane from forest biomass. The demonstrator has validated the integrated operation of the entire chain of innovative technologies under industrial conditions. 


“This renewable, storable gas which can be easily transported using existing infrastructure, meets French targets to reduce waste going to landfill by 50% and fossil fuel consumption by 30%.”
Alessandra Barba, head of the biogas, biomass and waste lab at ENGIE Lab CRIGEN


A first industrial unit on the horizon

The SALAMANDRE project! That is the name given to the project to build the first industrial unit dedicated to this process, in Le Havre (Normandy, France), starting in 2023. From 2026, the unit will use 70,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste to produce up to 150 GWh of renewable gas3, equivalent to the consumption of 670 urban buses. In addition, the multi-energy process will allow production of 45 GWh of renewable heat to meet urban and industrial needs.


Key figures

1st: first production of renewable gas from solid non-recyclable waste in the world

2023: construction of the first industrial unit in Le Havre, France

Almost 200 GWh produced from non-recyclable waste in 2026

10 patents filed by the GAYA platform since 2011


Contributing to the transition towards carbon neutrality

ENGIE’s GAYA R&D platform is supported by the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME). The process we have developed is in line with our corporate purpose, firstly because it reduces the quantity of non-recyclable waste going to landfill, and secondly because it reduces consumption of fossil energy sources by offering a renewable, storable4 gas which can substitute for natural gas and, as such, has multiple end uses, such as sustainable mobility, or energy supply for industry and the tertiary sector.


The GAYA platform in four key dates

  • 2017: inauguration of the GAYA semi-industrial platform in St-Fons, France
  • 2018: first injections of biomass into the gasifier and production of purified synthesis gas
  • 2019: first production of biomethane from forest biomass
  • 2020: first production of renewable gas from waste (SRF)



1. Use of Solid Recovered Fuel, ADEME (French Agency for Ecological Transition)
2. The Corporate Group’s Research & Development centre
3. Non-hazardous waste from economic activities is prepared, thus becoming Solid Recovered Fuel according to the standards in force. This is then gasified at very high temperature to produce synthesis gas with high calorific value. The synthesis gas resulting from this first conversion is then purified to transform it into biomethane using a catalytic methanation process.
4. With a 30% reduction in fossil fuel consumption in 2030 (compared with 2012), and a 50% reduction in the quantity of waste going to landfill by 2025 (compared with 2010).