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ENGIE and Essar Oil announce advances in green gas and fuel production from waste

Published February 23, 2021

ENGIE and Essar Oil announce advances in green gas and fuel production from waste

Renewable gas has been produced for the first time from non-recyclable waste in France, and a British company is to start producing aviation fuel from the same waste stream, it has been announced.  

ENGIE has produced renewable gas from solid non-recyclable waste, in what is claimed to be a world-first in the development and industrialisation of renewable gas production sectors. The tests carried out using SRF show it is possible to produce renewable gas from Solid Recovered Fuel. SRF is mostly made up of waste wood, paper, cardboard, and plastic. Usually, this type of waste is not recycled, going to landfill or to incineration or to produce heat and/or electricity for industry.  

The creation of the gas was carried out at the GAYA semi-industrial R&D platform in Saint-Fons, Rhône, France. This comes a year after the first production of biomethane from forest biomass. The demonstrator validated the integrated operation of the entire chain of innovative technologies under industrial conditions.  

A project is underway to build the first industrial unit dedicated to this process, in Le Havre, starting in 2023. From 2026, the unit will use 70,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste to produce up to 150 GWh of renewable gas, equivalent to the consumption of 670 urban buses. In addition, the multi-energy process will allow production of 45 GWh of renewable heat to meet urban and industrial needs. 

Meanwhile, Essar Oil is building a facility which will convert non-recyclable household waste into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for use by airlines operating at UK airports. In partnership with US-based Fulcrum BioEnergy, the new bio-refinery will convert several hundred thousand tonnes of pre-processed waste, which would have otherwise been destined for incineration or landfill, into approximately 100 million litres of low-carbon SAF annually. 

The £600m project will use Fulcrum’s waste-to-fuel process, which is already being deployed in Reno, Nevada, USA, where operations are due to begin later this year. Fulcrum will construct, own, and operate the plant at Essar’s Stanlow manufacturing complex in the North West of England. This will be the first Fulcrum plant outside the US. Essar will assist with the blending and supply the new SAF to airlines, with Stanlow Terminals Limited providing product storage and logistics solutions for the project under a long-term agreement. 

“Any developments which increase the availability of green gas are to be welcomed,” said Nick Fedson, sustainability analyst at Alfa Energy. “Currently, green gas is more easily available in Europe and particularly Germany, where there has been a push for biodigesters and hence production of biomethane. Green gas such has the potential to be a hugely important means of decarbonising the built environment, but so far most attention has been on green electricity.”