In world first, ENGIE produces renewable gas from solid non-recyclable waste

March 14, 2021 |

In France, a year after successfully producing biomethane from forest biomass, the GAYA platform achieved a world first and took a historic step forward with the production of its first cubic metres of renewable gas from Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF).

In the absence of dedicated recycling channels, this type of fuel is mostly made up of waste wood, paper, cardboard and plastic resulting from economic activities. ENGIE’s demonstrator has validated the integrated operation of the entire chain of innovative technologies under industrial conditions. This configuration maximises the production of renewable gas.

Based on the work already undertaken, ENGIE plans to build a first industrial unit in Le Havre, France, starting in 2023, the SALAMANDRE project. From 2026, this will allow 70,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste per year to be used to produce up to 150 GWh of renewable gas, equivalent to the consumption of 670 urban buses. In addition, the multi-energy process will allow production of 45 GWh of renewable heat to meet urban and industrial needs.

In an exclusive Digest interview, Alessandra Barba, manager of the Biogas, Biomass & Waste Lab at ENGIE Lab CRIGEN told The Digest, that “ENGIE’s purpose is to accelerate the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy. Through the activities around the GAYA platform (which represent more than 10 years of know-how and expertise), ENGIE is committed to the development of this new pathway to produce a RNG. The GAYA production chain is the reference solution to valorize non-recyclable waste and to reach the goal of reducing waste landfilling as well as the fossil fuel dependance. As such, based on this model, ENGIE is studying the possibility of building a first industrial unit in Le Havre, France, starting in 2023, the SALAMANDRE project. Currently, various partnerships patterns are under investigation. Also, as the production of RNG also allows for the production of heat (6MW of heat + 20 MW of RNG), opportunities of local synergies are investigated for the SALAMANDRE project.”

“The GAYA site is a R&D dedicated platform,” said Barba. “As such, all the produced gas is re-used internally and is not sold. Nevertheless, the purpose of developing such pathway is to produce a RNG that comes as a substitute to the fossil natural gas, meaning it is storable, transportable through already existing facilities and networks and usable in the same equipment to address the same needs (heating, mobility, cooking…)”

Non-hazardous waste from economic activities is prepared, thus becoming solid recovered fuel according to the standards in force. This is then gasified at very high temperature to produce synthesis gas with high calorific value. The synthesis gas resulting from this first conversion is then purified to transform it into biomethane using a catalytic methanation process. Engie has provided the infographic attached to explain the process.

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Category: Fuels

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