The first site in Wallonia for the injection of biomethane into the gas network is now operational. This is a major step forward that not only contributes to Wallonia’s energy transition process, but also to the construction of a new model for the circular economy.
On Wednesday, 7th October in Fleurus, Ministers Philippe Henry (Climate, Energy and Mobility) and Willy Borsus (Economy, Foreign Trade, Research and Innovation, Digital, Spatial Planning, Agriculture, IFAPME and Centres of Expertise) inaugurated the first injection site in Wallonia, Belgium of gas produced from renewable sources into the gas distribution network.
Agricultural waste recycled as energy
For a number of years now, Cinergie, the Fleurus-based agro-industrial company, has been recycling some 100,000 tons every year of material derived mainly from livestock manure, agricultural products and food waste. Until now, this material has been used as part of a cogeneration system producing electricity (injected into the grid) and heat (supplying a heat network in the local area).
These products are now also being converted into biomethane, a 100% renewable gas that delivers the same output as traditional natural gas. Now, for the first time, this biomethane is being supplied to domestic users and businesses via the collective network. The energy produced corresponds currently to the equivalent of the consumption needs of a town the size of Gembloux.
“Our aim at Cinergie has always been to encourage the circular economy by short-circuiting recycling solutions,” said Éric Pierart, Managing Director of Cinergie. “We are delighted to have been able, thanks to the support of our partners and investors, to introduce a solution for the production of green energy that will benefit Wallonia and its citizens.”
A model for the future
With its extensive agricultural land, Wallonia has a major potential supply of biomethane (estimated at 8.7 TWh) that could actively support Belgium’s targets for producing renewable energy and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, for heating applications, mobility and industrial processes.
The arrival of this green gas into our networks responds to both ecological considerations (a reduction in greenhouse gases, as well as the recycling of waste, the association of the farming world with environmental transition, etc.) as well as to economic issues (the creation of local jobs that cannot be moved elsewhere, the diversification of revenue for farmers and optimisation of the way in which existing network infrastructures are used, etc.).
Four other projects to build biomethane injection units are also underway in Wallonia, in the provinces of Hainaut and Luxembourg.
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Cinergie is a cooperative family-run company pioneering renewable gas in Wallonia. Very much part of the circular economy dynamic, the company processes 100,000 tons of livestock manure, food waste and farming products each year to produce electricity, heat, green gas and organic fertiliser.
Each year, Cinergie produces enough to supply 3100 households with electricity and 1700 homes with green gas, while at the same time saving a million litres of heating oil by recovering the heat generated by its industrial process. The odourless residual digestate also provides a low-cost way to fertilise approximately 3500 hectare of farmland in the region, enabling farmers to reduce their need for mineral fertilisers and the CO2 emissions associated with their manufacture.
Fluxys Belgium is the independent management company for the infrastructures carrying and storing natural gas in Belgium. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Fluxys LNG, the company also manages the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal in Zeebrugge. Fluxys Belgium is a subsidiary of Fluxys, the gas infrastructure group based in Belgium and operating throughout Europe.
Fluxys Belgium is fully committed to implementing energy transition in Belgium. In fact, green gas can gradually replace natural gas in the gas infrastructure, which would enable households and businesses to access additional carbon-neutral energy sources. Through their achievements, Fluxys and ORES are providing concrete proof that managers of both distribution and transmission networks are now tackling the issue of energy transition head-on.
As a local public service enterprise, ORES manages and operates 51,000 km of electricity distribution networks in 200 municipalities in Wallonia and almost 10,000 km of natural gas supplies, as well as 450,000 public lighting points. In recent years, ORES has connected more than 110,000 renewable and decentralised renewable energy production units to its networks. Contributing to the Cinergie project, ORES – in collaboration with the Fluxys transmission network (see above) – has made it possible for biomethane to be injected into the Walloon network for the first time.
Number 1 in land-based wind power and hydroelectricity, Luminus produces electricity and provides power and energy-related solutions. This project fully meets its purpose, which is to build an energy future that is neutral in CO2. On the one hand, because Luminus supports Cinergie and hence the production of green gas, which is bought by Luminus.
And on the other, because Luminus supplies this green gas to its Spa Monopole, Safran and Takeda customers, helping them to reduce their carbon footprint. In fact, the use of green gas enables a reduction in CO2 emissions that we estimate at 8,850 tons per year, which is the equivalent of the CO2 from 1050 households.
Gas.be connects the gas industry and represents the managers of the network companies that transmit (Fluxys) and distribute (Fluvius, ORES, RESA and Sibelga) Belgian gas. Not only does it defend the interests and points of view of its members, but it also brings together various partners to develop projects and services.
Gas.be is committed to renewable energy and seeks to play an active role in facilitating long-term energy transition and energy supplies that are achievable, affordable and sustainable. Gas.be is connected sustainably, offering its expertise to its members and providing secure and safe installations and gas appliances through its laboratory and Cerga quality label for gas installers.
With 35 years of experience with businesses and with over 250 companies in its portfolio, as well as €150 million under management, Sambrinvest is a major provider of risk capital in the Charleroi Metropolitan region and Wallonia.
More than just a shareholder and investor since the early days of Cinergie in 2008, Sambrinvest has closely supported the Fleurus-based company for over 10 years in all its developments and fundraising. This strong link has been instrumental in bringing the company to where it is today. For more information, please visit: www.sambrinvest.be
This article is courtesy of gas.be.