TotalEnergies triples production targets
This is a great example of the rapid transition happening in the energy world. In October 2013, TotalEnergies ceased commercial exploitation of the Lacda (Pyrenees-Atlantiques) gas field. Almost a decade later, he announced the commissioning of France’s largest biogas plant, located about ten kilometers away in Mourench.
Recovery of agricultural waste
BioBéarn will be supplied with maize scraps (leaves, husks, stalks, etc.) from neighboring agricultural cooperative Euralis, with which the group has a supply contract. This year, the site should inject 69 GWh of biogas into the grid, which is equivalent to the annual consumption of 14,000 people thanks to the methanization of 95,000 tons of agricultural waste.
It should gradually increase capacity by diversifying applicants, reaching 160 GW/h per year. TotalEnergies is talking about future partnerships, especially to recover residues from the agri-food industry and scraps from canteens. At cruising speed, BioBéarn should produce 200,000 tons of digestate per year, which is a natural fertilizer to be used on farms in the region, allowing for a reduction of about 5,000 tons of chemical fertilizers.
This is the group’s eighth plant in France to inject biogas into the grid. It also has ten others that produce green gas but convert it into electricity or heat. With BioBéarn, its annual production capacity now reaches 0.7 TWh.
TotalEnergies triples production targets by 2030
Having very significant resources, TotalEnergies has very high ambitions in the sector after acquiring Fonroche, the French number in biomethane, at the end of 2021. Last year, it revised its targets sharply, increasing global output from 6 TWh to 20 TWh in 2030. Two-thirds will be located in Europe, with 4.5 TWh expected by TotalEnergies in France. “40-50 projects have been launched” by the end of the decade, according to Olivier Guerrini, director of biogas operations. The group can also offer its services to farmers with small installations.
In the coming weeks, TotalEnergies should complete the acquisition of 18 factories in Poland. It already has an operational site in the US and is building a second one. A facility with an annual capacity of 200 GWh in India should also open at the end of the year.
Everything is going very fast. He explains that the potential for organic waste is quite large and the demand is growing strongly. Logistics giants like DHL and Fedex or e-commerce giants like Amazon are converting their truck fleets to biomethane to reduce their carbon footprint. Ship owners are also getting involved. In Europe, producers are trying to secure the supply of biomethane.
In its renewable energy development plan, the European Commission hopes for 385 TWh of biogas in 2030, and an investment of around 83 billion euros is required to achieve this.
The French sector is operational
In France, the biomethane sector is also showing exponential growth, even if the construction of large facilities could lead to opposition to Denmark’s Natural Energy project, as in the Côte d’Or.
At the end of 2022, 514 injection sites have been identified in France. At the end of 2021, there were only 365, and a year ago it was 214. Annual production capacity has already reached 7 TWh, which is more than a 900 MW nuclear reactor, GRDF claims.
It is the only renewable energy that exceeds the targets set in the multiannual energy programming law (PPE), recalls Jean-Marc Leroy, president of France Gaz (formerly the French Gas Association). 6 TWh was calculated at the end of 2023.
Currently, biomethane accounts for 2% of gas consumption. But the sector estimates that it could reach 20% in 2030, which is twice the official scenario established so far. This was as much as Russian gas was imported into France before the Ukraine crisis.