Naturgy marks a turning point in Spain’s energy transition with the first injection of renewable landfill gas into the distribution network

  • The group’s target is that all the gas circulating through its networks will be from renewable sources by 2050, and it is currently working on biomethane and hydrogen projects worth €4 billion.
  • The group’s gas network is capable of distributing renewable gases thanks to investments made in recent years and it is a key vector for meeting decarbonisation targets.
Naturgy renewable gas plant at Elena landfill in Cerdanyola del Vallés (Barcelona).

This week Naturgy has become the first company to inject renewable landfill gas into Spain’s gas distribution network. A landmark that reflects the company’s commitment to the energy transition and positions it at the forefront of innovation in developing this new energy vector, which will make a significant contribution towards decarbonising the country’s energy system.

The renewable gas plant, located at Parc de l’Alba in Cerdanyola del Vallès (Barcelona) next to the Elena landfill, represents an investment of €2.2 million.

It demonstrates Naturgy’s capacity to carry out these types of projects thanks to the strength of its distribution network, which is ready to distribute renewable gas, given the investments made in recent years, the existing gas infrastructure in Spain and its contribution to supply security.

In fact, Naturgy’s target is that all the gas circulating in its networks will be from renewable sources by 2050. The company is digitalising all its distribution infrastructure with its sights set on the mass entry of renewable gases and has presented biomethane and hydrogen projects worth €4 billion in the Declarations of Interest to drive collaborative projects as part of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.

More than 3,000 households a year

The Cerdanyola del Vallès plant will produce 12 GWh of biomethane a year, the equivalent of the annual consumption of 3,200 households, and will avoid the emission of 2,400 tonnes of CO2 per year into the atmosphere, a quantity equivalent to planting some 5,000 trees.

Part of the gas that will be injected into the network will be supplied as fuel for vehicles at Naturgy group stations, as it is a totally viable alternative for sustainable mobility.

The biomethane produce will enable energy to be used in a way that benefits the circular economy, in line with the Climate Change Act and the PNIEC (Comprehensive National Energy and Climate Plan).

These types of projects are also a clear reflection of Naturgy’s support for local energy production, very close to the main areas with the potential to generate biomethane (landfills, pig farms and wastewater treatment plants).

Naturgy is committed to developing renewable gas on a commercial scale and has the experience acquired from projects started up in recent years such as Methamorphosis, in Vilasana (Lleida) which receives European funding, or the project at the Bens wastewater treatment plant in A Coruña, co-funded by the Xunta (regional government) through the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) to produce biomethane from wastewater for mobility purposes.

Potential of renewable gas and the circular economy
Renewable gases (mainly biomethane and hydrogen) are destined to be an active player as a renewable energy source, facilitating the integration of gas and electrical systems, supporting efficient waste management and contributing to the circular economy.

They help to resolve the environmental problem of emissions associated with waste management, until now released into the atmosphere, and recover both urban waste, agricultural and livestock farm waste, and also waste from wastewater treatment plants, thus creating circular economy models that also benefit waste producers.

Likewise, they contribute to economic development in rural areas and regional cohesion in areas facing demographic challenges.

According to the report ‘Los gases renovables. Un vector energético emergente’, published by the Naturgy Foundation the maximum renewable gas production potential in Spain could be the equivalent of 65% of the current total natural gas demand if it is purposefully developed.

The authors of this study maintain that if Spain develops all its production potential, it could reduce CO2 by 35 million tonnes, that is, over 10% of the greenhouse gas emissions forecast for 2030. This is equivalent to the CO2 emitted by its entire fleet of cars in one year or absorbed across all forest areas in Spain in 2017.