Weltec Biopower has inaugurated a biomethane plant in Normandie, France, which processes by-products from agriculture and the food industry into energy.
The biomethane plant began operations this month in Papillonnière, near the town of Vire, following an investment of €11 million.
The German energy plant manufacturer rolled out the project with Agripower France, while the plant will be operated by Agrigaz Vire, a local company that comprises 40 operations along the agricultural value chain.
According to Weltec Biopower, the plant will digest 70,000 tons of substrates to biogas annually, which will then be processed to biomethane.
The raw material mix consists of inexpensive waste and other by-products from agriculture and the food industry, which are gathered locally.
Two-thirds of the required daily input substances consist of animal waste such as cattle and pig manure and liquid slurry. Meanwhile, whey, sludge and abattoir waste from food operations – which belong to Agrigaz – account for another 20%. The remaining substances are made up of maize, grass, whole plant silage, straw and grass silage.
With the aim to reduce greenhouse gases, 270 cubic metres of the biomethane is fed into the public gas grid every hour for use as an energy source or as alternative fuel throughout France.
“With this amount, some 5,300 tons of CO2e can be saved every year,” said Alain Priser, who is in charge of Weltec Biopower’s business in France.
Priser added: “Used as a natural gas equivalent, the biomethane could cover as much as 20% of the gas demand of Vire (population: 18,500).”
The digestate is also used as high-quality fertiliser by the agricultural company’s farmers. “Our farmers thus also benefit from this by-product in that they save chemical fertiliser. Ultimately, this too is a key to reducing greenhouse gases,” said Yves Lebaudy, managing director of Agrigaz Vire.
Inhabitants of Vire can deposit their waste in a new recycling centre, supporting the operation of the biomethane plant.
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