Working in collaboration with French start-up, WAGA ENERGY, environmental services firm SUEZ has developed a new biogas and biomethane recovery and grid injection solution.
The new technology, officially launched in Saint-Maximin, allows biomethane to be injected into the local natural gas distribution network operated by GRDF, supporting the region’s ecological transition.
The company explained that the recovery of biogas from waste storage facilities is a key factor in managing waste and preserving resources. In France, currently only 60% of the biogas produced in these facilities is recovered as electricity or heat.
The technology developed by WAGA ENERGY and deployed at the Saint-Maximin plant is said to recover biogas more efficiently than the usual process.
After ten years in development, the WAGABOX®, supported by the “Investissements d’Avenir” (investment for the future) programme, is claimed to be the first industrial unit capable of extracting biomethane from the mixture of gases produced by decomposing waste which contains carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen and impurities.
Following a purification step, the biogas converted into biomethane, which is almost identical to natural gas, can be injected into the GRDF distribution network. The Saint-Maximin site is expected to supply around 20 GWh of biomethane for injection into the network every year, equivalent to the gas requirement of 3000 households.
“By applying the WAGABOX disruptive technology, SUEZ will be able to recover 90% of the biogas produced from waste as 98% pure biomethane, which will be injected directly into the natural gas distribution network,” said Mathieu Lefebvre, CEO of WAGA ENERGY.
Technical and support and €438,920 in funding for the project was provided by Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l'Énergie (ADEME).
According to SUEZ, the launch of this facility with WAGA ENERGY helps meet targets laid out in the French law on energy transition for green growth and is in line with its own strategy to increase biogas production by 30% to 50% within the next five years.
The company added that this latest development optimises the waste’s energy potential and will enable it to become France’s largest producer of biomethane and the operator of the largest number of biomethane plants in the country.
“At our Saint-Maximin plant in Oise, we have been recovering the waste we store into electricity for a long time,” said Philippe Maillard, SUEZ’s Senior Executive VP Recycling & Recovery Europe and CEO R&R France. “From today, we will also recover it into enough biomethane to meet the annual gas requirements of the equivalent of 2000 local households.”
SUEZ also noted that in France recovers almost 5 million tonnes of waste as renewable energy, to meet the heat requirements of 430,000 inhabitants and the electricity consumption of 580,000 inhabitants.
In Europe the firm said that it will recover this year more than 9 million tonnes of waste in renewable energy, to meet the heat requirements, will sell 7 TWh of energy which is the equivalent of the annual consumption of a city with 2 million inhabitants, such as Vienna or Hamburg, thus avoiding more than 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.
A video explaining the technology can be viewed below.
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