Drinks manufacturer, Nestlé Waters and renewable energy developer, Groupe E Greenwatt, have inaugurated Switzerland’s largest anaerobic digestion plant for recycling agricultural waste into biogas and fertiliser.
Located in Treize-Cantons the biogas plant will treat around 25,000 tonnes of manure and from 27 local farms and 3800 tonnes of organic waste from the processes that produce Nespresso and Nescafé.
An opening ceremony was attended by State Councilor Jacqueline de Quattro, head of the regional development and environment department.
“The development of local and renewable energy meets the objectives of the canton’s energy policy. It opens up the way for the energy transition and improves our security of supply,” she said.
Financed, built and operated by Groupe E Greenwatt, the plant is expected to produce 4000 MWh of electricity and 4500 MWh of heat by using the biogas in a cogeneration engine. The heat will be consumed in the Nestlé Waters bottling plant, bringing its proportion of renewable energy to over 50%.
By replacing energy generated using fossil resources, it was said that the biogas plant avoids the emission of 1750 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.
Nestlé Waters added that the residual material left over at the end of the process constitutes a high-quality fertiliser that is used by partner farms. Since the methane has been extracted in the process to produce, the digestate was said to make hardly any odour when spread and have a very high nutritive value.
“This plant has all the ingredients of a pilot project that will surely inspire other initiatives,” commented Nestlé Waters CEO Marco Settembri.
The president of Groupe E Greenwatt, Alain Sapin, emphasised the important role that partnerships play in the construction of facilities to produce renewable energy.
Utility firm, E.ON Denmark, has opened a 300,000 tonne per year Grøngas Vraa organic waste to biogas anaerobic digestion facility.
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