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Suez begins construction of France's largest biomethane-to-grid project

France-headed global waste and water management company Suez Groupe SAS has announced that its subsidiary SERAMM in Marseille, France has officially begun the construction of a biomethane production and injection plant at the Géolide wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Marseille.

Located in a former quarry, part of the SERAMM wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) will be converted to produce biomethane for injection into the gas grid (photo courtesy Suez).

According to a statement, Suez via its subsidiary SERAMM, Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolitan area, the French Water Agency, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) and Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region are investing EUR 9.2 million in the conversion of part of Marseille’s Géolide wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).

As the company manages the wastewater treatment system for Marseille urban area and four other municipalities in the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolitan area, Suez provides local solutions to improve its customers’ economic and environmental performance.

Thus, in Marseille, Suez is investing in the conversion of its sewage sludge treatment plant, located in Sormiou quarry since 1987, to launch “the biggest biomethane production project ever seen” in France.

In partnership with its local authority and industrial customers, Suez is planning to increase its production of biomethane in France by 30 to 50 percent by 2020. This new plant shows that Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolitan area is working towards the same goal as our Group – taking immediate, concrete action to promote the circular economy said Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of Suez.

Biogas upgrading and injection

From January 1, 2019, the biogas produced in the sludge digestion process will be collected, converted into biomethane and injected into the public natural gas network at a rate of 2.3 million Nm3 annually. The facility has been designed with a future extension in mind, allowing for a rate of 3.8 million Nm3 per annum, which will make it the largest in France.

The Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolitan area will be able to produce enough green energy to supply about 2,500 households. This biomethane – in compressed form – could also, in the longer term, be used as a biofuel for public transport running on natural gas (NGV).

The new biomethane production plant will offer several environmental benefits – the proportion of recoverable biogas will increase by 35 percent while carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions should drop by 30 percent.

This facility will enable our metropolitan area to produce a more environmentally friendly green energy. Aix-Marseille-Provence takes action in a wide range of areas including transport, economic development, the energy transition and a better quality of life for our residents, said Jean-Claude Gaudin, President of Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolitan area and Mayor of Marseille.

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