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Renewable gas : future source of energy ?

The renewable gas makes its arrival in the future sources of energy say “green”. According to a study published by ADEME (French Agency for the Environment and Energy Management), it will be possible to cover 100% of gas consumption from renewable resources by 2050. But what is renewable gas and what potential does it represent in a context of energy transition ?


Towards the disappearance of natural gas…

Today, natural gas is mainly exploited in 3 countries of the world, representing alone 49% of conventional natural gas reserves : Iran, Russia and Qatar. In all, natural gas accounts for about 21% of global energy production and about 40 billion m3 of natural gas is consumed in France each year. However, many experts, scientists and environmental associations predict the end of natural gas, in France and in the world, by 2072. Natural gas is a non-renewable resource and fossil energy buried in the basement. Although less polluting than oil or coal, its combustion contributes significantly to global warming and contributes to the greenhouse effect.

Due to depletion of resources, the disappearance of natural gas will eventually occur (such as oil, iron, cobalt, coal and aluminum). But what alternative is there today to natural gas? According to the Ademe study, France could be autonomous in gas by 2050 thanks to renewable gas, produced from organic materials.

The renewable gas : natural gas… but better !

The renewable gas comes from methanation, a natural biological degradation process. It is therefore produced from organic materials and is renewable, unlike natural gas. The materials collected to produce renewable gas are mainly manure or slurry, agricultural residues, waste from the food industry and catering. In the end, methanisation produces gas (largely made up of methane) and “digested” waste or digestate that can be used as fertilizer.


Today, 514 methanation plants are operational in France and 1,700 units are planned by 2023. The development of such a process would also create 15,000 jobs by 2020. Still according to the study of the Ademe, the French gas system would be compatible with a 100% renewable gas, provided to implement targeted measures (collection networks, transport and storage infrastructure…). Although this new source of energy currently covers only 0.01% of the needs, it tends to settle permanently in the French energy landscape and could represent 6% to 30% of the final consumption of gas in 2035. In Senlis, in the Oise, the transition seems already begun with the installation more than a year ago of one of the largest methanization units in the Hexagon dedicated to gas injection. Ultimately, the Senlis green gas can supply 3,000 homes from waste and crop residues.


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