Waste management, production of renewable energy, reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, support for the agricultural world: methanation is a way of the future to contribute to the energy and ecological transition of Aude and the Eastern Pyrenees.
Anaerobic digestion is a process for treating and recovering waste, which reproduces a natural biological phenomenon by which bacteria degrade organic matter. “Anaerobic digestion is at the interface of many activitiessays Fabien Haas, managing director of Total Energies Biogaz France (headquarters: Roquefort – 47), a subsidiary of the oil group.
It is present in Perpignan through the BioRoussillon unit. It makes it possible to locally recycle organic materials from agricultural or agri-food production. The process produces material that can be used as a natural fertilizer. The process also generates biogas which, once purified, can be reinjected into the gas network managed by GRDF. This energy can be used for heating, for land and sea mobility and industrial processes. In the end, anaerobic digestion is a local alternative to incineration and landfilling of waste”. For Fabien Haas, this process is therefore virtuous by being part of the circular economy and contributing to the energy autonomy of a territory.
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In Perpignan, the BioRoussillon methanization unit is ramping up
Already mature in some countries such as Germany and Italy, the development of methanisation is accelerating in France. Already in 2020, this process was part of the energy mix with 214 installations injecting biomethane into the network representing 3.9 terawatt hours of production capacity, i.e. a 73% increase in production capacity compared to 2019.
Occitanie has nearly forty facilities, including some in Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales. This process incorporates the positive energy region scenario by 2050 initiated by the regional institution, which aims to produce biogas of 9,400 GWh in 2050 (compared to 70 GWh in 2015).
In this context, the Region, together with partners, has decided to set up a regional green gas center to help and support the development of renewable green gases (CRGV).
“Currently, these are close to 10,000 inhabitants consume gas produced in Perpignanhe assures before adding: the context of the rise in the price of energy, such as gas, as well as that of nitrogen fertilizers which arrive in particular from Russia, reinforce the idea that methanation can be an interesting lever for the territories”.
According to him, “the projections of Total Energies, also an energy supplier, are to push the production of biogas fires to 10% by 2030 – against 1 to 2% currently. This amounts to multiplying our production capacity by ten, going from 0.5 terawatt hours to more than four. There will be new sites but we are also studying the purchase of active units”.
Treatment of bio-waste source of development
The ambition of players in the sector active in Occitanie in particular, such as Total Energies Biogaz, Arkolia Energies, Valorem, etc. echoes the development potential of the methanisation sector. “There are potentials, in particular those related to the separate collection of bio-waste from large producers such as canteens, or households (for which the Energy Transition Law for Green Growth sets an objective of generalizing sorting at source by 2025) as well as than in the agricultural sectorhe specifies. The idea is not to set up anaerobic digestion sites everywhere. On the contrary. A production site is only of interest if it is located near gas suppliers and consumers”.
According to the research and consulting firm Solargo: “Ihe areas most favorable to the development of anaerobic digestion are located around Carcassonne, Fanjeaux, Lavalette and Castelnaudary. Development would be more constrained in the Pyrénées-Orientales“.
A recruiting industry
At a time when many sectors are struggling to recruit, does the sector have the means to match its ambitions? “Total Energies Biogaz France currently has around 100 employees. We expect between 40 and 50 recruitments in 2022. 50% of team growth is linked to site maintenance and operation. In particular, we are looking for in Occitania, a project manager and a regional managerannounces Fabien Haas who is considering the creation of a training center. We employ a variety of profiles: salespeople, developers, design offices, works, logistics, support functions, operations, maintenance, biologists, agronomists… The average age of our teams is 35! We feel that the new generations are getting involved in professions that have meaning like ours”.
By contributing to the ecological and energy transition, but also to waste treatment and employment, the biogas sector supports the world of tomorrow.