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Européenne de Biomasse invests EUR 100 million in bioheat, power and black pellets

In France, bioenergy project developer Européenne de Biomasse along with its financial partners Meridiam and the Banque des Territoires has announced it is investing over EUR 100 million in FICA-HPCI (Filière industrielle Champagne-Ardennes - Haut Pouvoir Calorifique Industriel) – a combined heat, power and black pellet production plant on the Pomacle-Bazancourt industrial estate in Marne, Champagne-Ardenne, France. Site preparation and construction is expected to begin in the autumn of 2018.

An artist’s rendering of the FICA-HPCI (Filière industrielle Champagne-Ardennes – Haut Pouvoir Calorifique Industriel), a black pellet and combined heat and power (CHP) plant to be built in France (image courtesy Européenne de Biomasse).

According to a statement July 13, this “unprecedented” French industrial complex will comprise of a biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant that will supply electricity to the French power grid operator Enedis and process steam to a local industrialist. In addition, the plant will produce 120 000 tonnes per annum of “HPCI” black pellets as a drop-in substitute for coal.

Using wood and forest residues from the region, the FICA-HPCI facility will be the world’s first plant to produce HPCI black pellets continuously with a process developed by Européenne de Biomasse, which the company says “guarantees the quality.” In June 2018, Moret Industries Group revealed that it was awarded the EPC contract for the pellet plant part of the facility.

This product is a real alternative to coal and does not require the modification of existing boilers. Through this project we concretize the objective pursued for many years: to design the factory of the 21st century, non-polluting, and a source of local jobs. We are developing with our partners Meridiam and the Banque des Territoires, a global approach to fast-track biomass supply, to displace the use of coal for heat, industry, and power, without modifying existing boilers and infrastructure, explained Jean-Baptiste Marin, CEO of Européenne de Biomasse.

Located in Champagne-Ardenne in the Grand Est region, the FICA-HPCI industrial complex strengthens the leadership of the region recognized as the “bioeconomy valley” in France with companies such as Cristal Union that already operates a biorefinery inPomacle-Bazancourt.

With a total of more than EUR 100 million invested, the FICA-HPCI industrial complex is anticipated to create 350 direct and indirect jobs in the area, as well as function as an industry showcase with the FICA-HPCI model that can be transposed to other regions of France and internationally.

We want to develop a real French production line for HPCI from our FICA industrial series. In the medium term, our ambition is to build several factories in France capacity at least equivalent to FICA-HPCI. In the longer term, we plan to duplicate this model in other European countries and in other regions of the world with biomass resources. A construction pace of a plant per year for 10 years is a possibility and an ambition shared with our partners Meridiam and Banque des Territoires that invest concretely and longterm for the realization of this project, said Jean-Baptiste Marin.

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