Using waste from wine and cheese production

The Marnay Energie biogas plant is to help agriculture and the food industry in Central France to increase the value of their production.

Whey is a by-product from the production of cheese while grape marc is a waste product in wine production. In Central France, whey and grape marc will now be utilised to produce energy and organic fertiliser.

Xergi has been given the task of supplying Marnay Energie in the small town of Feux near Sancerre with a complete biogas plant.

The biogas plant will handle around 38,000 tons of material a year.

In addition to waste products from wine and cheese production, the plant will process solid animal manure from goats and dairy cattle and other waste products from the agricultural and food industries within a radius of up to approximately 30 kilometres.

Creating value from waste

"The purpose of the project is to create value from organic waste produced by the farmers and food companies in the local area. This means that we contribute to increasing the value of the overall agricultural production in the area," says Frédéric Flippo, co-owner of Holding Verte, a company that is a shareholder in Marnay Energie.

Holding Verte's aim is to convert organic waste to energy and fertiliser through biogas production. Among the shareholders in Holding Verte is the Caisse des Dépôts pension fund.

Mr Flippo explains that the idea for the current project originally came from local farmer Mathieu Bruesse who is also a shareholder in Marnay Energie.

Mr Bruesse wanted to set up a large biogas plant which would be able to process organic waste from wine and cheese production. The plant meant that green energy production could be set up and he would get a new, organic fertiliser product to replace his mineral fertiliser.

"He contacted us and together we have developed the project which was put out to tender. Xergi was awarded the contract, primarily because the company's technology ensures high flexibility and the option of using many different types of feedstock," says Mr Flippo.

Energy and fertiliser

"The biogas plant is another example that Xergi is able to help agriculture and the food industry to solve a number of basic problems in creating value from unused waste products," says Guillaume Loir from Xergi's French subsidiary, Xergi SAS.

The plant will digest the feedstocks and utilise the biogas for the production of electricity and heat. While the electricity will be sold to the national grid, the heat will be used both in the internal processes of the biogas plant itself and in a drying facility.

The digestate will be separated into liquid and solid fractions. Both will be used as fertiliser by Mr Bruesse who thereby gets the opportunity to reduce his use of mineral fertiliser.

Facts about Marnay Energie

The biogas plant will comprise of four modules for the pre-treatment of the different types of material that are to be digested at the plant. The plant will also include a 3,000 m3 primary digester and a 2,000 m3 secondary digester. The biogas will be purified and then utilised in a CHP plant with a capacity of slightly more than 1.0 MW of electricity. A plant for the separation of the digested biomass and the drying facility will also be installed.

For further information please contact:

Managing Director Jørgen Ballermann, Xergi A/S, tel: +45 99 35 16 00

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