Filling up with bioNGV directly from an agricultural methanizer

A farmer since 1990, Philippe Collin is passionate about bioNGV to the point that his modest station could make a lot of things happen on a national scale.


With the signing of contracts which require injection into the gas network, bioNGVBiogas, which is physically produced locally by methanization, is very rarely available at the pump in France.

Provenance is above all, a game of writing that is based on guarantees of origin. It’s already very good. However, it is possible, with very modest-sized units, to refuel with biomethane actually obtained near your home. This is the case in Haute-Marne, in Colombey-lès-Choiseul, at the EARL distributor in Grivée.

The farm station can only supply the few vehicles that use it very regularly: a school bus, a milk collection semi, few private cars and light utility vehicles. 

“In 2006-2007, we started to hear about anaerobic digestion. I then visited a few units in Germany. My 320 hectares of land are divided into 200 cultivable ha and 120 ha of meadow. I have been organic since 2015. Several years in a row, I have carried out the carbon footprint of my farm. This prompted me to make various decisions,” begins Philippe Collin.

“In 2016, with financial assistance from Ademe, I embarked on a project to recover biogas which had been unnecessarily burnt in a flare until then. It was then a cogeneration activity, first with a 250 kW engine. The power of the unit increased in 2018 to 350 kW,” he continues.

“Thanks to Prodeval, which carried out an experiment at home for 1 year with a unit capable of supplying 2 Nm3 of biogas per hour, I was able to refuel my utility Fiat Punto during the night bought from the metropolis of Grenoble “.

First steps with a dairy truck

“Prodeval had also opened faster stations in Barcelona and Madrid. For our part, without particularly wanting to profit from the production of our biogas, we looked for scenarios that would at least allow us to achieve financial equilibrium. It was not possible with 2 or 3 light vehicles”, explains Philippe Collin. 

“We then contacted the local dairy, a unit of the Savencia group, which produces Caprice des Dieux cheese here. During a round of approximately 300-350 km, one of his trucks comes to collect the milk I produce from me every 2 days,” he explains. “The establishment, located 18 km away, agreed to test the collection with a CNG semi, first with a Scania tractor unit last December, then with an Iveco the following month. The dairy decided on a longer test with the first model,” he reports. “This truck will be our model to amortize the construction of the new 20 Nm3 / h station opened in December. From 2021, it will fill up every day, for a volume of 30 tonnes of bioNGV per year, which will correspond to half of our production. The theoretical capacity of our installation is 80 tonnes. On days when the truck does not collect milk at La Grivée, it only has a detour of 6 km to make to come and fill its tanks here.”, explains Philippe Collin.

“As we are not connected to the national gas network, once our 42 bottles for 200 kilos of storage are full, production stops. A configuration which would make it problematic to base our service only on several dozen light vehicles, mostly passing in a short period of time,” he points out. “The advantage of receiving the truck from the dairy lies in the time it passes through the distributor, around 3 am. This point is essential for the smooth running of our establishment. The bottles are then full. When he leaves, the station starts producing bioNGV again, which can be distributed during the day,” he says.

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