On-site implementation of renewable-energy solutions

In order to decarbonize some of the energy used on its Milmort site, Safran implemented three types of renewable-energy installation: solar panels, a wind turbine and cogeneration plants fueled by locally-produced biogas

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

To decarbonize the energy used on the Milmort site through the implementation of cogeneration systems, solar panels and an industrial wind turbine.

The on-site production of renewable energy, including self-consumption, is the best way to decarbonize the energy required to operate the site (industrial processes or infrastructure).

  • Cogeneration: the aim of this project is to increase the site's independence in electric power while improving overall energy performance through the use of highly efficient cogeneration plants. The cogeneration plants consist of internal combustion engines that generate electricity (1,200 kW and 400 kW) and heat from biogas. The biogas, generated from agricultural waste, is produced in a methanation unit located within a radius of 50 km. The cogeneration plants are primarily used to produce the heat required by the site (domestic hot water and heating, but also process heat required by certain procedures). The electricity that is cogenerated is injected into the internal network (self-consumption). One of the cogeneration plants has a buffer hot-water storage tank to better regulate and store energy.
  • Solar panels: these panels are installed on the roofs. It is the most profitable solution (lower installation costs, no planning permission is required as these installations benefit from a waiver if they are mounted on a roof, which is not the case of ground-mounted or parking-lot canopy installations). This type of installation is very quick to implement; the project was carried out in a few months (approximately six months between the start and the connection to the internal network). At the moment, there are enough operators who are capable of undertaking this type of project efficiently. In Belgium, the annual output of the solar panels is 1,000 kWh per kWp installed, which is more than enough to strike a financial balance (based on generation statistics available since 2009).
  • Wind turbine: due to strict technical and urban-planning criteria, the site only had a small area in which a mid-size industrial wind turbine could be installed (~ 1 to 1.5 MW). The file was compiled by an experienced wind-turbine operator, which is necessary as this type of project is technically and administratively complex. Following this pre-study, the permit application was submitted to the relevant authority. The permit was issued 18 months after the project was launched. As from the date of issuance, it takes almost 18 months for the wind turbine to be connected to the network and to generate electricity. In Belgium, a large onshore wind turbine generates annually from 2,200 to 3,000 MWh per MW installed (based on generation statistics available over the past 10 years).

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 - Burning of biogas in the cogeneration plants

  • Quantification: - 967 tCO2 / year

Scope 2  - Cogeneration: coproduction of electricity:

  • Quantification: -1,994 tCO2/year

Scope 2 - Solar panels: 

  • Quantifiaction:
    • Finalized: -50 tCO2/year,
    • Planned: -250 tCO2/year

Scope 2 - Wind turbine:

  • Quantification: -454 tCO2/year (2022)

Scope 3 - Production of biogas

  • Quantification: + 250 tCO2/year

Scope 3 - Solar panels:

  • Finalized: + 8 tCO2/year
  • Planned: + 40 tCO2/year

Scope 3 - Wind turbine:

  • Quantification : + 20 tCO2/year

Avoided Emissions - Biogas: emissions avoided by the farmer :

  • Quantification : - 1144 tCO2 / year

Before the project, the Milmort site used 48,371 MWh of energy per year:
- 21,376 MWh of fossil energy (Natural gas; EF = 0.227 tCO2/MWh LCV) per year for the heating of the buildings and the heat requirements of the industrial processes
- 26,995 MWh of electricity taken from the Belgian network (EF = 0.277 tCO2/MWh) Namely, CO2 emissions of 12,330 tCO2/year

The project covers these energy needs (considered to be equal to the pre-project situation)
- 10,400 MWh of biogas (EF = 0.024 tCO2/MWh LCV) per year for heating and the heat requirements of the industrial processes
- 7,200 MWh of electricity generated from cogeneration (EF = 0 tCO2/MWh, in the case of cogeneration, the EF is applied to heat)
- 1,080 MWh of electricity generated from solar panels (EF = 0.045 tCO2/MWh)
- 2,000 MWh of electricity generated from the wind turbine (EF = 0.010 tCO2/MWh)

This results in an improvement in CO2 emissions of around 4,890 tCO2/year

Key points

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Invested amount

1400 k€

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Starting date of the project

2018

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Project localisation

Milmort, Belgium

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

This project fully meets SDG 7 Affordable and clean energy. It also contributes to SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, as it enables the site’s modernization (greater energy independence, modernization of infrastructure)

All of these projects can be reproduced, subject to compliance with the legislation and any incentives in place.

These projects also desensitize a site to market prices thanks to energy that is less expensive than that sold on the market. In the least favorable scenario, the energy price is identical to that of the market. This is the case, for example, for biogas, for which regional assistance measures offset the additional cost when the biogas is used in a cogeneration plant. However, the decarbonization is significant.

To reproduce this project successfully, the assistance of experienced suppliers is necessary. These suppliers must also be familiar with existing legislation and incentives, which are often complex. It is therefore important to rely on local players for each area.

As all of these forms of technology are very mature, these projects are carried out within a client-supplier framework.

  • Cogeneration: contract with a local company. Project based on own funds.
  • Biogas, solar panels and wind turbine: contract with Luminus, EDF’s Belgian subsidiary.
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Contact the company carrying the project :

eric.englebert@safrangroup.com

Safran’s other projects :