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Résofil no.12 - May-June 2017
Winter Outlook 2017-2018
Val de Saône-A program to ensure competitiveness and security  of supply in France


A renewable gas that is a source of energy

Using waste - methane fermentation to produce biogas - purification to obtain biomethane

Biomethane is a fuel gas that is produced by repurposing organic matter derived from various sectors, including agriculture, industry, catering waste, community waste, and gas derived from non-hazardous waste landfills (NHWL).

The digestion of organic matter produces biogas which can be processed by combustion to provide heat and/or electricity. This biogas can be upgraded to the same quality as natural gas, and is then called “biomethane”. Once it is purified and odorised, it can be injected into gas grids.

It has many uses: heating, electricity, fuel, etc.

The production of biogas generates a residue called digestate. A natural organic fertilizer, it can be spread on agricultural lands as a substitute for fossil-based mineral fertilizers.

Biomethane is clean and has excellent virtues; it is great for our land and brings a new perspective to our energy. Its production is part of the development strategy for renewable energies in France since 2011.

In 2015, 17 facilities were able to inject 82 GWh of biomethane into the entirety of France’s gas grids1

Using waste - methane fermentation to produce biogas - purification to obtain biomethane

Biomethane, a renewable gas from our lands

In September 2015, GRTgaz connected a major biomethane production unit  to its network. Starting from 73,000 tonnes of waste, 28 GWh/year of biomethane will be able to be produced by the SMET 71, Saône-et-Loire’s intercommunal syndicate. A quantity of renewable gas equivalent to the yearly consumption of 1202 buses or 2,5003 households heated by gas will help to prevent the emission of 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. This green gas is bought and used by the neighbouring industrial facility TERREAL which, to produce its tiles, can thus replace 1/3 of its natural gas consumption with renewable energy.

As a provider of climate solutions, GRTgaz is thereby involved in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in a sustainable way, providing incomes and local jobs that cannot be relocated, and fuels a virtuous cycle in a circular economy. Thanks to its technical expertise, GRTgaz acts as a facilitator on the value chain of this green gas that comes from our lands.

Biomethane and energy transition : promising prospects

The ADEME4 (French Environment & Energy Management Agency) anticipates that 500 to 1,400 sites could inject between 12 and 30 TWh/year of biomethane into the grids around 2030. . This projection is an objective set by the State in the Law No. 2015-992 of 17 August 2015 relating to energy transition for green growth, which says that 10% of gas consumed in 2030 should be from a renewable source.

An analysis of the biomethane life cycle carried out by GRDF (French gas network distribution) and the ADEME5 demonstrated that the development of the biomethane sector could prevent the emission of 750,000 tonnes of CO2 for the year 2020 alone, with 4 TWh/year of biomethane used. Cumulatively, the emission of over 2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent would therefore be avoided thanks to the development of the biomethane sector at this time. In other words, for each Megawatt-hour (MWh) of biomethane produced, injected and consumed, savings of 188 kilogrammes of CO2 equivalent would be made.

Key figures of biomethane

Key figures of biomethane

Green Gas: GRTgaz, a committed european provider against CO2 emissions

In 2013, GRTgaz joined the Green Gas initiative, which includes seven European gas infrastructure companies.

The Green Gas initiative member companies are convinced that gas and gas infrastructures play a key part in reaching the European objectives of carbon emissions at a reasonable price for society and consumers, and work together in order to identify specific courses of action until 2050.

1 Overview of renewable gas in 2015
2 Average consumption of a bus 225 MWh/year
3 Average customer consumption: 12 MWh/year (source GRDF)
4 Green Gas Grids – a vision for biomethane in France for 2030 – ADEME – December 2014
5 Quantis – ENEA/GRDF – assessment of the greenhouse gas impacts on injecting biomethane in natural gas grids – Final report – 7 April 2015