Ferrovial Servicios group, a leading global service operator, has selected France-headed landfill gas (LFG) to biomethane technology provider Waga Energy SA to produce biomethane at one of Spain’s largest landfills, the Can Mata landfill near Barcelona.
The Can Mata landfill site is one of the largest in Spain. It covers 68 hectares (ha) in the municipality of Els Hostalets de Pierola, about 40 kilometers from Barcelona. Ferrovial Servicios has operated the site for the last 20 years, treating more than 20 million tonnes of waste.
The waste stored in Can Mata generates nearly 40 million Nm3 of landfill gas (LFG) per annum. Up until now, this LFG has been used to provide electricity and fuel for a neighboring ceramic factory.
The result of ten years of R&D at Air Liquide and Waga Energy, the “WAGABOX” is described by the company as a “breakthrough LFG recovery and upgrading technology” that combines two upgrading processes: membrane filtration and cryogenic distillation.
Membrane filtration removes the carbon dioxide (CO2) and impurities from LFG. The gas is then cryogenically cooled to separate the methane (CH4) from the oxygen (O2) and nitrogen (N2). Regardless of the composition of the incoming raw LFG, WAGABOX produces 98 percent pure biomethane — pure enough to meet utilities’ grid-injection standards.
Finance, build and operate
The two partners have adopted a business model that guarantees high performance throughout the project cycle. Waga Energy will purchase part of the LFG from the Can Mata site from Ferrovial Servicios, finance the construction and operation of the WAGABOX unit, as well as manage relations with the gas network operator and the sale of the biomethane.
Waga Energy will invest EUR 7.5 million to commission the unit and connect the Can Mata site to the gas grid, located four kilometers away.
The agreement signed with Waga Energy strengthens Ferrovial’s commitment to sustainable development. This circular economy project will make it possible to produce biomethane, for the benefit of our citizens, thanks to the most advanced technology for the recovery of biogas from waste gas. We hope that this innovative green energy project will be extended to other sites that we operate, as part of our strategy to transform waste into resources, said Antonio Aliana, Regional Director of Ferrovial Servicios in Catalonia.
One of the first PPAs in Europe for green gas
The WAGABOX unit at the Can Mata site will be commissioned in 2022. It will treat up to 2 200 Nm3 per hour (1 365 scfm) of LFG and inject 70 GWh (250 000 mmBtu/262 680 GJ) of biomethane per annum into the gas network of the Spanish operator Nedgia.
This is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of approximately 14 000 average Spanish households. By substituting fossil gas with biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG), the project will lead to reduced CO2 emissions of 17 000 tonnes annually.
According to Waga Energy, this is the first-ever LFG-to-RNG injection project to be financed by a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in Europe. This method of financing is common for renewable electricity projects but rarely used for green gas projects, generally unable to provide buyers with a competitive price over the long term.
This first-ever “Biomethane Purchase Agreement” has been made possible thanks to the proven efficiency of the WAGABOX technology, combined with Waga Energy’s unique expertise in the management of landfill biogas injection projects – the company has ten WAGABOX projects already operational in France.
This significant project with the Ferrovial Servicios group marks the culmination of three years of hard work by both parties. Landfill gas-to-biomethane injection projects are complex from a technological, regulatory, and financial point of view. Our unique expertise in this area, combined with our commitment to the energy transition, has enabled this major renewable gas project in Spain to materialize, said Mathieu Lefebvre, CEO, and Co-Founder of Waga Energy.