Status of Development – AILE, Northwest France

In Northwest France agricultural sector play a vital role in biogas. AILE has been working on biogas technicalities, economics and legal/economic frameworks in the context of both CHP and biomethane plants, but also on the educational programme for farmers.

State of Departure

The possibility to inject upgraded biomethane in gas grid since 2011 marks a new trend and offers new possibilities for the biogas sector. France has a great potential for biomethane injection, due to the existence of a quite dense and well ramified grid. But on the other hand, the fuel gas/NGV sector is barely developed in France. This challenges both energy sector and transport industry, which seems to be more likely turning towards electric mobility. Nevertheless, road carriers and local authorities seem to be very interested in BioNGV, but face the lack of infrastructure such as refuelling stations. In this context, French ambitions are strong for biogas sector for electricity and heat as well as green gas production. National targets multiply and are part of a multifaceted framework: energy transition law that fixes objectives to decrease French nuclear production to 50% of the electricity mix, Paris agreement on Climate Change, Objectives for circular economy, and objectives for bio-waste recovery.

Another challenge is biogas companies’ financial soundness and capability to innovate and move forward in a competitive and difficult market. More than 30 biogas plants manufacturers are now settled in France, for 70 new biogas plants built every year. Several of them face economic difficulties, and some have already gone bankrupt.

Lastly, local and public acceptance could be a next major issue and has to be taken into account right now, which project holders are starting to do, but with heterogeneous efficiency.

What have been done throughout the project

Institutional building was part of the activities, these include writing of regional strategic roadmap for the Region Pays de la Loire, participation in the departmental committees and establishing of regional advisory committee.

AILE has been strengthening the biogas sector through the work on legal and economic frameworks, i.a. support mechanism, national strategy for research,  legal framework regarding energy crops.

AILE worked on both regional biomethane installations and big centralised plants for optimization of business models. Also, financing guideline has been published, in collaboration with RAEE.

New training programme is being implemented in collaboration with Agricultural Chambers of Brittany and the French Association for biogas Farmers (AAMF). Close collaboration with Swedish plant More Biogas is also a part of optimizing the biogas production. Moreover, Assistance has been given to 4 centralized plants that were facing difficulties to move
forward.

Read the full report about the first period of the Project in Northwest France, here.