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 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 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.