Biomethane switch : biomethane supply from several production sites

In order to decarbonise the heat needed for the processes operated by Solvay, the company has decided to substitute natural gas and supply its installations with biomethane.

Main project's drivers for reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

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Energy and resource efficiency

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Energy Decarbonisation

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Energy efficiency improvements

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Improving efficiency in non-energy resources

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Emission removal

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Financing low-carbon issuers or disinvestment from carbon assets

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Reduction of other greenhouse gases emission

Project objectives

The objective of the project is to decarbonise the heat necessary for the processes operated by somes Solvay sites in France, replacing natural gas with biomethane purchased directly from producers and transported to Solvay’s sites through guarantees of origin.

Solvay has signed long-term contracts (15 years) with producers for the supply of biomethane from new facilities to be built (anaerobic digestions), participating in the development of french biomethane sector. In total, 15 contracts were concluded with biomethane producers over the last 12 months including new investments (€4M per unit) which will be commissioned in 2021 and 2022.

As a gas supplier in France, Solvay commitment in these contracts covers both the gas and guarantees of origin.

Emission scope(s)

on which the project has a significant impact

Scope 1

Direct emissions generated by the company's activity.

Scope 2

Indirect emissions associated with the company's electricity and heat consumption.

Scope 3

Emissions induced (upstream or downstream) by the company's activities, products and/or services in its value chain.

Emission Removal

Carbon sinks creation, (BECCS, CCU/S, …)

Avoided Emissions

Emissions avoided by the activities, products and/or services in charge of the project, or by the financing of emission reduction projects.

Scope 1 - Partial Substitution of Natural Gas consumed by bio-methane  

  • Quantification : 41.4 ktCO2/year 

The project substitutes the annual consumption of 230 GWh PCS of natural gas.

The emission factor of natural gas considered is 180 kgCO2/MWh PCS.

The emission factor (scope 1) of bio-methane considered is 0 kgCO2/MWh PCS.

The calculation of the annual reduction of direct CO2 emissions (scope 1) by using bio-methane instead of natural gas, expressed in tonnes of CO2, is :

Annual quantity of energy consumed in GWh x 1000 x (bio-methane emission factor in kgCO2/MWh - natural gas emission factor in kgC02/MWh) / 1000).

So, for the case exposed : 230 000 × (0 − 180)/1000 = − 41 400 tonnes

So, the use of bio-methane allows a gain in direct emissions (Scope 1 Solvay) of 41,4 ktCO2 / year

Key points

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Invest amount

60M€ 

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Starting date of the project

2020

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Project localisation

France

Project maturity level

Prototype laboratory test (TRL 7)

Real life testing (TRL 7-8)

Pre-commercial prototype (TRL 9)

Small-scale implementation

Medium to large scale implementation

Economic profitability of the project (ROI)

Short term (0-3 years)

Middle term (4-10 years)

Long term (> 10 years)

Illustrations of the project

Established in the territories, the biomethane sector offers positive externalities.

In particular, it allows:

  • To anchor a circular economy at the local level in waste management.
  • To contribute to the development of the local economy providing additional income to farmers.
  • To achieve the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions set by law of Energy Transition for Green Growth, both in the industrial sector and in the transport (or urban heating).

The potential for reproducibility at other Solvay sites in France is significant, especially when electrification of the processes or the switch to biomass is not possible (for technical, economic or resource availability reasons), knowing that SRF (solid recovered fuel) option doesn’t bring any CO2 reduction compared to natural gas.

An appropriate level of support is necessary for the sector (guaranteed price or other) in order to enable it to reach its objectives in terms of the volume of biomethane injected.

Competitive access to guarantees of origin with long-term visibility is essential to make biomethane a sustainable decarbonisation solution for industry. On this point, the terms and conditions of the new mechanism of auction sales of state guarantees of origin auction from 2021 must be specified.

The eligibility of biomethane guarantees of origin to substitute natural gas with a zero CO2 emission factor in the ETS must not be reconsidered in order to ensure the longevity (15 years) of our contracts.

Several actors contribute to the successful implementation of these projects :

  • Solvay: long-term purchase commitment for bio-methane and guarantees of origin.
  • Producer : investment, operation and maintenance of facilities.
  • French State : support for the sector through a guaranteed tariff for producers throughout the duration of contracts.
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Contact the company carrying the project :

richard.bourdon@solvay.com

Solvay’s other projects :

Solvay

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To produce steam consumed by the Saint Fons site, Solvay substitutes natural gas with a biomass heating plant that uses wood waste as fuel. The main objective of the project is to decarbonise the heating…

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