The Euralis cooperative has partnered up with BioBéarn, a biogas plant managed by TotalEnergies. This new plant runs on organic waste supplied by Seretram and farmers pooled by the cooperative, to produce biogas and digestate which farmers can then use in their sprays instead of chemical fertilisers. Explanations:
The BioBéarn project was launched in 2016, in consultation with local stakeholders, and Euralis quickly stepped up as a key partner. “This is a long-term project”, specifies Christian Matheu, head of development at Euralis’s biogas sector. “In fact, the first digestates have just been sprayed.”
Every year, this partnership helps to:
– recover 95,000 tonnes of input products from agrifood sources (mainly from sweetcorn grind supplied by Seretram and some of the waste from abattoirs) and agricultural sources (duck, cattle and pig slurries);
– produce 69 GWh of biogas and 86,000 m3 of liquid digestate initially and, when at full capacity, 160 GWh of biogas (i.e. equivalent to the average annual consumption of 32,000 inhabitants) and 200,000 tonnes of digestate (avoiding the use of 5,000 tonnes of chemical fertilisers)
“Digestate is a natural fertiliser used in the agricultural spraying of plots grown by farmers within a 50 km radius of the plant”, Christian Matheu explains.
Euralis’s contribution to the project
Euralis has contributed to this biogas project in several ways. Firstly, regarding input products, the cooperative has helped source vegetative waste by working with Seretram, one of its long-standing partners, which supplies 45,000 tonnes of sweetcorn grind per year, i.e. a little more than half of the biomass.
It has also identified farmers who could supply liquid manure. There are currently around one hundred pig and geese breeders operating within a 50 km radius of the biogas plant.
Euralis has mobilised farmers upstream who would benefit from joining the spraying plan. “Our farm advisors went into the field to explain the benefits of using digestate, a competitive natural fertiliser. We needed to educate them”, Christian Matheu highlights.
The advantages of spraying for farmers
So far, 161 farmers have committed to the spraying plan. All are based within a 50 km radius of the BioBéarn site. Using this natural fertiliser helps them reduce their consumption of chemical fertilisers by half (2,230 tonnes per year) and therefore cut back on costs (around an 18% reduction in the cost of fertilisers, including the cost of spraying). Spraying also has agronomic benefits. Rich in fertilising compounds, digestate contains no undesirable substances, only nitrogen and organic carbon, which nourish the soil, and ammoniacal nitrogen, which nourishes plants. Lastly, since digestate is sanitised, it therefore has no foul odour nuisances.
The biogas plant is ramping up production
In the coming months, the biogas plant will ramp up production and the number of input products is expected to increase to reach the 160 GWh biogas production target set by Total Energies.
In particular, we are examining the use of intermediary crops for energy production (fodder or grain crops, for instance), to help us reach this objective.
“We are proud to contribute to this biogas project alongside farmers.
It is a great way to encourage sustainable agricultural practices and to help farmers cut costs on input products. This type of green energy production also contributes to France’s energy conservation policy and the region’s economic vitality. In fact, the BioBéarn plant has created 5 direct jobs and around twenty indirect jobs. All of this falls perfectly within Euralis’s strategy, particularly our CRS commitments”, highlights Laurent Dubain, General Director of the Agricultural Division.
Jean-François Cazeres, a farmer in Momas, has signed up to the spraying plan
Jean-François Cazeres runs a multi-crop farm in Gaec, along with his wife and son, where they grow green beans and maize seeds and breed cattle for meat. “My farm advisor told me about the spraying plan in 2021. I accepted his proposal for two reasons. Firstly, because it has helped me to cut back on the cost of input products, which is especially important given the recent price hikes! And secondly, because I could see the agronomic benefits: spraying requires fewer chemical products, resulting in a less acidic soil and a better balance of micro-nutrients. I plan to begin spraying in spring. I can’t wait to see the results.”
Press contact: Nathalie Salmon +33 (0) 5 59 92 54 79 / +33 (0) 6 48 08 52 88 email@example.com