The Role of Methane Unit Developers

By Engie - 18 September 2023 - 11:52

Group specialists are tasked with identifying the most promising sites and spearheading development of new methanization units.


ENGIE is committed to making strides in renewable gases. In pursuit of our goal to reach an annual capacity of 10 TWh by 2030, the Group plans to invest €6 billion over the next decade, splitting it equally between methanization units and transport/distribution infrastructure. In France, a dedicated team of 20 individuals is working to develop a portfolio that currently boasts 30 operational units. The process mirrors our approach in other countries within the Group: identify methanogenic sources, pinpoint connection points to the gas network, and secure the necessary approvals from local authorities to begin construction – all in close collaboration with stakeholders.


Methanogenic Potential

These developers effectively serve as project leaders. They meticulously assess a designated geographical area using a comprehensive database. They analyze the types of crops, livestock, and agri-food industries in the region. They gauge the methanogenic potential of waste products such as manure, whey, beet pulp, and more. If the potential proves promising, they determine the size of the production unit needed for methanization. Their next step is to engage potential partners, starting with farmers, highlighting two distinct advantages: they no longer need to store their manure, as it will be regularly treated and utilized in the methanization unit, and the application of digestate eliminates the need for fossil-based fertilizers.


One of their key challenges is to persuade all stakeholders, including elected officials and residents, who may be concerned about potential impacts. “All methanization units are designed and constructed to have minimal impact,” assures Denis Dhugues, Director of Development at ENGIE BiOZ. Patience is key. In total, a methanization project takes a minimum of seven years, and sometimes more than ten, from land acquisition to securing permits, potential legal challenges, and the construction phase. “The sector is still young, undergoing transformation, with evolving technical and legal constraints to consider. It takes unwavering conviction and determination to work on projects of this nature,” shares Denis Dhugues. These developers will play a pivotal role in ENGIE's new commitment to renewable gases.