11 february 2015
FNSEA and Veolia sign an agreement for more competitive agriculture.
At the Group’s head office, the FNSEA President Xavier Beulin and Veolia Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Antoine Frérot today signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation on water use and the circular economy, in particular focusing on methanization.
The goal is to develop advanced technologies dedicated to agriculture and the environment that will improve competitiveness, reduce its environmental footprint, create jobs that cannot be outsourced and establish a model that can be exported.
and Veolia will launch pilot projects relating to water use and the circular economy in agriculture with a view to making France an agroecology champion. The agreement covers improving water storage (recharging the water table), using alternative resources (rainwater or recycled wastewater), infiltration, irrigation and protecting drinking water abstraction. Together they will develop solutions for a circular economy in agriculture by means of area level methanization, biomass, and energy efficient agricultural processes.
"This agreement will facilitate the development of an "alternative" economy, a cleaner and more moderate economy, a more efficient economy, an economy that conserves nature by using it," stated Antoine Frérot
Methanization, a major focus of the agreement
Anaerobic digestion offers a twofold approach to recycling agricultural waste as it produces both compost and energy (in the form of biogas, electricity or heat). Unlike solar or wind power it produces power continuously, and generates revenue. In the same plant it can also recycle other organic waste from agro-food industries, plant residues and by-products from wastewater treatment plants run by local communities. For example in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, the Artois industrial methanization
plant managed by Veolia annually processes 25,000 tons of waste that generates electricity for the equivalent of 6,500 inhabitants, and recycles 7000 t of sludge that is used to fertilize agricultural land in the region.
Under the energy transition legislation, methanization is one of the ways of increasing the proportion of renewable energy, and of reducing by half the amount of landfill waste by 2025.
"With methanization, we are moving away from a linear production and consumption model and towards a circular economy, in which one person’s waste systemically becomes someone else’s resource. Recycling organic waste that has high environmental added value represents a solution that is fully integrated into the local economy," said Antoine Frérot.
(1) Fédération nationale des syndicats d'exploitants agricoles – French national federation of farmers’ unions