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Agrimaine Biogas Cogen plant, France

Background

The Project was initiated by AB2M, a company created in 2011 by c. 110 farmers in the Mayenne department (west of France). Meridiam joined the initial developers of the Agrimaine Biogas Cogen in May 2017 to jointly lead and finalize the development of the project which reached financial close in December 2017. The project consists of developing, implementing, financing, operating and maintaining a 3.65MW cogeneration power plant [1].

Agrimaine Biogas Cogen project was one of the two methanization projects selected under the CRE (Commission de Régulation de l’Energie) #5 tender in 2016 and, as such, benefits from government support through a preferential long-term tariff for the electricity generated. ( source https://www.greenunivers.com/2017/03/qui-sont-les-laureats-du-premier-appel-doffres-biomassebiogaz-159795/ )

The project company has secured long-term biomass supply contracts with AB2M. The c. 110 farmers involved in the project produce approximately 20% of the biomass of the area (conclusion of a market analysis conducted in 2011 [2]) and provide 90% of the project needs (150 kt/year).

This project contributes to the goals set by the French energy code regarding waste treatment, recovery of non-recyclable solid waste, and the replacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy sources:

  • it is reducing methane and CO2 emissions (93 k tCO2e avoided over lifetime – source: Carbone 4 study),
  • heat produced is provided to the local Lactalis plant, enabling that plant to reduce its recourse to polluting fossil fuels for its thermal energy needs,
  • the digestate from the biogas plant is redistributed to the farmers and used as fertilizers.

Meridiam has also undertaken a thorough impact assessment on Agrimaine in 2020 and which has been updated in 2021 as part of the review of externalities and impacts from our portfolio of biogas asset in Europe, with the support of ENEA. This assessment demonstrated the project’s highly positive impact on the socio-economic environment of the area, which is sometimes suffering from desertification and from challenges related to the profitability of agricultural business model. The 110 shareholders of AB2M are all farmers located in a 25km area around the biogas unit.

This model provides them with extra revenue through the sale of biomass production and also contributes to reducing their cost base by using of the digestate as fertilizer.

In line with Meridiam’s objectives to further foster the local and circular economic dimension of the project, a crowdlending operation allowed to raise €1m from individuals in December 2018. One fourth of the targeted amount was raised locally, illustrating the willingness of the population to contribute to local sustainable development and energy transition projects.

As part of the construction, additional works were allocated to integrate a so-called hygienisation unit to the methanization plant. In line with the latest environmental regulations, this hygienisation unit eliminates bacteria in the digestate, before this digestate is given back to the farmers and used as fertilizer. Some technical improvements are being made to the plant to improve the prevention of overflow risks.

 

Stage:

In Operation, completion date 7 October 2019

 

 

Sources:

[1] https://www.usinenouvelle.com/article/le-methaniseur-agrimaine-mobilise-110-agriculteurs-et-25-millions-d-euros.N662104

[2] https://inis.iaea.org/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/49/034/49034419.pdf

 

Learn more about the project:

 

Meridiam launches the biggest crowdfunding campaign to finance a methanation unit in France

110

Farmers involved

largest plant

of this type in France at completion date

circular economy

model

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