Artois anaerobic digestion plant: ecologically responsible solution for industrial companies and public authorities producing biowaste
Antoine Frérot, Chairman and CEO of Veolia Environnement, opened the Artois anaerobic digestion plant in the presence of Daniel Percheron, Senator for the Pas-de-Calais département and Chairman of the Nord-Pas de Calais Regional Council, and Hervé Pignon, Regional Manager of the Nord-Pas de Calais ADEME, the environment and energy management agency. The new plant will enable Veolia to produce green energy in the region, located in the north of France.
Sede Environnement, a subsidiary of Veolia Environnement, has owned the Artois composting site in Graincourt-les-Havrincourt, to the southeast of Arras, since 2000. Up until recently, the 8.5 hectare site was used exclusively for composting municipal and industrial wastewater sludge. In 2011, construction started there on the Artois anaerobic digestion plant, which represents an investment of 8 million euros, with 1.1 million euros provided by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund and 300,000 euros from ADEME.
Covering an area of 9,000 square meters, this multipurpose treatment unit began recovering all types of organic waste in April 2012, from agriculture (agricultural biomass, endive roots, etc.), industry (biological sludge and floating greases, rejects, meat waste, fats and grease from catering), municipalities (grass cuttings, canteen leftovers, wastewater sludge) and the retail sector. From the methane produced by these organic wastes, the Artois anaerobic digestion plant supplies electricity.
The plant will recover 25,000 metric tons of waste a year and generate enough electricity to meet the needs of 6,500 people. The residual waste from the anaerobic digestion process will form 7,000 metric tons of digestate that will be composted and used as a soil improver on neighboring farmland.
Anaerobic digestion is a biological process that enables waste to be recovered both as energy and for use in agriculture. By producing green electricity and high quality fertilizers, Veolia Environnement is turning waste into a resource.
The Artois composting and anaerobic digestion sites also demonstrate the excellent fit between Veolia Environnement's different activities. The process equipment was supplied by Veolia STI, a Veolia Water subsidiary, while GRS Valtech, a Veolia Environmental Services subsidiary, has provided its expertise in the preparation and cogeneration of biogas.
"The launch of the Artois anaerobic digestion plant is an illustration of our company's capacity to create, at a single site, synergies between infrastructure and activities that meet the need for high-value-added environmental services. This excellent method for the biological recovery of waste is a new, ecologically responsible solution for our agro-industry and public authority clients; it is useful in farming and fits perfectly into the region's economic fabric. As for our company, it puts us a step ahead of the competition."
The Artois anaerobic digestion plant also meets the requirements of France's Grenelle II law by offering a solution for big producers of biowaste, which, since January 1, 2012 have been obliged to sort at the source and recover their organic waste.