On 21st September, 2017, the first French service station selling gas from a farm-based anaerobic digestion plant was inaugurated by four livestock farming operations in the Vendée department.
A handful of breeders from the Vendée town of Mortagne-sur-Sèvre made good on their wager of getting lorries to run on the gas produced on their farms. These four farms got together to found the AgriBioMethane company and build an anaerobic digestion unit. Cattle and pig effluent are the main input materials to the digester, along with agri-food waste.
Cheaper with less greenhouse gas
The methane gas produced is injected into the GRDF grid. And to cap it all, a stone’s throw from their biogas plant, the breeders have just installed a service station distributing CNG (compressed natural gas for vehicles). This is methane compressed to more than 200 bar. The pumps are powered by the home produced biomethane. Costing roughly 20% less than petrol or diesel, CNG also runs more economically and produces a lot less greenhouse gas and fewer fine particles.
Heading toward the CNG pro fleet
Many hauliers in surrounding areas have already invested in HGVs modified to run on gas. Although their range is limited to 500km because of the size of the gas tanks needed, they are nonetheless perfectly suitable for local and regional deliveries. The farmers too have ordered CNG powered vehicles and their company hopes this will help keep the impetus going.