In early 2012, Weltec Biopower started building a 526-kW biogas plant in Saint-Nicolas-du-Tertre, Brittany, about 60 miles northwest of Nantes.
The plant is equipped with a fermenter of 3,052 cubic metres and separator, solid matter dosing feeder, two storage tanks, digestate storage unit, pump station, control, and drying. The plant is to be commissioned in October 2012.
According to operator, the fermenters are fed with pig manure, waste from the food industry, regenerative raw material, and intertillage for energetic use. The farmer provides the site for the plant and supplies the agricultural substrates. The exhaust heat produced by the biogas plant is to be used for digestate drying on the one hand and for the heat supply of the operator‘s pigsty, which is located at a distance of about 60 m, on the other hand.
With a heat utilisation of 70 percent (without fermenter heat), the CHP surcharge in France is EUR 0.04/ kWh, so that the feed-in tariff for a 500-kW plant totals EUR 0.17. In France, the feed-in act ensures that the state will purchase power from biogas plants at a guaranteed price for 15 years.
At present, several biogas plants in the output range from 150 to 250 kW, about 600 kW, and about 1 MW are being constructed and planned in cooperation with Weltec Biopower. Based on the privileged construction right, the„Déclaration“, many plants with an agricultural substrate consumption of less than 30 t/day are currently being built. In this way, a biogas plant permit can be obtained in four to six months. In contrast, obtaining an operating permit from plants according to the German Federal Immission Control Act („Authorisation“) can take up to 18 months.
Measured by the available resources, France is rather restrained in terms of the construction of biogas plants. The European Biogas Association (EBA) has summarised the development goals of various EU countries for the use of biogas for generating power by 2020: Italy 1,200 MWel, UK 1,100 MWel, Poland 980 MWel, Netherlands 639 MWel, France 625 MWel, and Czech Republic 417 MWel.
In this scenario, Germany is the unchallenged leader (3,796 MWel). Measured by the biomass potential available in the country for generating energy, the Netherlands are using 68 percent, Germany 25 percent, Poland 19 percent, and France merely 5 percent energetically.