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CMA CGM and ENGIE set to co-invest in the Salamander project

CMA CGM and ENGIE set to co-invest in the Salamander project
ENGIE's semi-industrial Project GAYA in Saint Fons is unique in its ultimate aim of developing a sustainable and competitive industrial concept that includes the supply chain (photo courtesy ENGIE Lab CRIGEN).

The CMA CGM Group, a global player in sea, land, air, and logistics solutions, and ENGIE, a global leader in low-carbon energy and services, have announced plans to co-invest in the Salamander project – the first industrial and commercial unit for second-generation biomethane production – and their intention to produce up to 200 000 tonnes of renewable natural gas (RNG) annually worldwide by 2028, to meet the needs of CMA CGM and the shipping industry.

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Majority-owned by ENGIE and the CMA CGM Group, the site being considered is located in Le Havre, France, and is backed by the support of the Havre Seine Métropole urban community via the investment program “Le Havre, Ville portuaire intelligente” (Le Havre, a smart port city).

The unit will be fueled by dry biomass from local waste wood sources, along with solid recovered fuel (SRF), and will produce the biomethane via the pyrogasification process.

The site will aim to produce 11 000 tonnes of biomethane annually, starting in 2026.

ENGIE is innovating with a new local production method for second-generation biomethane using wood waste, underpinned by an energy production technology involving the pyrogasification process, said Edouard Sauvage, EVP Infrastructure at ENGIE.

The two majors plan to finalize their final investment decision (FID) in late 2022, and a funding request has been submitted to the European Commission’s Innovation Fund.

By developing the renewable gas industry and the Salamander project, both CMA CGM and ENGIE will help achieve the energy independence and energy transition goals set forth by the European Commission in the REPowerEU plan.

Aiming for 200 000 tonnes worldwide by 2028

The CMA CGM Group and ENGIE have also stated their intention to jointly produce up to 200 000 tonnes of renewable gas annually with production in Europe and worldwide by 2028, both to meet CMA CGM’s needs and those of the shipping industry.

The Salamander project will help reach that target. The CMA CGM Group, which aims to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050, already has a fleet of 30 dual-fuel “e-methane ready” ships in operation – a figure that will rise to 77 by the end of 2026.

The dual-fuel engine technology deployed by CMA CGM, which currently runs on LNG, is already capable of using bioLNG, as well as synthetic methane.

This fuel reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 67 percent compared with Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO) on a well-to-wake basis (the complete value chain).

To reach our target of net-zero carbon by 2050, the CMA CGM Group is seeking to form solid industrial partnerships, led by this initiative with ENGIE that aims to produce up to 200 000 tonnes of renewable gas annually by 2028, said Christine Cabau Woehrel, EVP Assets and Operations at CMA CGM.

A solid renewable commitment to Le Havre

Against this backdrop, CMA CGM and ENGIE are pledging their commitment to promoting the development of the renewable gas sector at an industrial scale.

The Salamander project is the “concrete translation” of both groups’ desire to promote production and distribution sectors for renewable gas in Europe – particularly in France.

It is the application on an industrial scale of 10 years of research and development conducted by ENGIE1 within the framework of the GAYA project, which has demonstrated the technical, economic, and environmental viability of producing renewable gas.

The Salamander project also reflects CMA CGM’s close-knit connection with the Le Havre region, where the site is being considered.

CMA CGM is the largest local maritime company in terms of market share, operating in the region since 1994, with 15 weekly connections serving the Port of Le Havre.

Salamander is the first industrial ramp-up to emerge from the partnership, an advanced pilot helping to develop the renewable gas sector, in keeping with the goals of energy independence and the energy transition set forth by the European Commission in the RepowerEU plan, Christine Cabau Woehrel said.

Committed to the Coalition for the Energy of the Future

CMA CGM and ENGIE have also been working together for several months within the Coalition for the Energy of the Future, launched at the end of 2019 during the “Assises de l’Economie de la Mer” by Rodolphe Saadé and supported by French President Emmanuel Macron.

The two companies continue to work within the Coalition to ramp up the development of the energies and technologies of the future, support new models of sustainable mobility, and reduce the climate impact of transport and logistics.

The scale of the project reflects our ambitions and accelerated development in renewable gas production. It demonstrates our ability to support leading companies in their transition to net zero. We are delighted and proud to be carrying out this initiative in partnership with CMA CGM, moving forward together in this important milestone in our efforts to promote the energies of the future, ended said Edouard Sauvage.

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