Methamorphosis - Naturgy - Innovation

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This tech demo project seeks the same objectives as the  LIFE+ Programme; in particular,  offsetting  climate change by increasing renewable energy  - especially biomethane - from waste treatment plants, which favours greenhouse gas reductions more than other fuels.

Furthermore, biomethane is being called upon to become an energy alternative of the future. Its injection into the natural gas network or use as fuel in a range of vehicles is already a reality.

LIFE Methamorphosis aims to demonstrate two innovative waste treatments systems at an industrial scale:


Treating urban effluent by combining anaerobic (oxygen-free) digestion with biological membrane reactors based on autotrophic nitrogen removal.

The biogas produced is improved (upgrading) to biomethane (BM) for use in the automotive industry. 


Producing high-quality biomethane from agro-industrial waste and other organic waste.

The biogas is pre-treated to remove the water and contaminating products, and then compressed to enable separation of the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the methane (CH4) in the membranes of the upgrading plant.
The Methagro system is aimed at enabling and guaranteeing the reactivation of purine treatment plants. This is sought by adapting and streamlining membrane upgrading technologies to eliminate the current environmental impact from the purines discharged into fields and generate a reuse for this waste as vehicular biomethane.

Naturgy participation

The Methamorphosis project is subsidised by the European Union (EU) under the LIFE+ programme to combat climate change. 

Naturgy is developing – as part of the Methamorphosisproject – the Methagro prototype for the production of high-quality biomethane from agro-industrial waste and other organic waste. The biogas is pre-treated to remove the water and contaminating products, and then compressed to enable separation of the CO2 from the CH4 in the membranes of the upgrading plant.

Besides Naturgy, the project is being supported by other companies and organisations such as FCC, Área Metropolitana de Barcelona, SEAT and Institut Catalán de Energía (ICAEN). 
  • Objectives

    To enable and guarantee the reactivation of purine treatment plants by adapting and streamlining “upgrading” technologies in order to reduce current environmental impacts and produce biomethane.
    To streamline performance by the “upgrading” facility in order to reduce operation and maintenance costs for small-capacity installations (170 Nm3/h), including supervision, control and oversight of CBM (compressed biomethane) quality
    Use of the compressed biomethane (CBM) produced. Streamlining of the logistics system by analysing distances between points of production and consumption, transport equipment sizes, consumption, emissions and associated costs, among others. Following this analysis, the best logistics system for the biomethane produced but not consumed on site will be implemented for this specific application and identified points of consumption.

    The specific aims of the Methagro project are as follows:

     Use of 12,930 t/year of purines and 7,350 t/year of urban waste by conversion to biomethane.
     Production of 13.28 Nm3 of CH4/tonne of organic material
      CO2 emission reduction of 9,500 t/year.
     Reduction of SO2 emissions by 2,064 kg/year
     Reduction of particulate emissions by 3,105 kg/year
     Increased concentration of methane in the biomethane of 42%.
  • Benefits

    One of the main expected benefits is the development of a methodology for applying and implementing the systems described in the METHAGROsystem, an optimal system for treating biogas generated from agro-industrial and food waste and generating high-quality biomethane.

    Some of the other major benefits are:

     Avoiding the atmospheric emission of 2,064 kg of SO2 per year.

     Reducing particulate emissions per vehicle of 3,105 kg per year due to the consumption of CBM generated at this facility.
     Avoiding up to 9.5 kt of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere by using the CBM generated as a vehicle fuel.
     Reducing the risk of aquifer contamination. Using 12,930 t/year of purines.
     Use of organic waste from supermarkets: 7,350 t/year.
     Job creation (up to 200 indirect and direct).
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