Naturgy will build its fourth biomethane plant in Lleida to generate renewable gas using agricultural and livestock waste

  • The facilities, developed in cooperation with Compost Segrià, Sitra and Servei de Gestió Ramadera, will generate and inject renewable gas into the gas distribution network equivalent to the consumption of 16,000 homes.
  • The company maintains its firm commitment to the production and distribution of renewable gas, with three plants and the largest gas distribution network in Spain, ranking third in terms of the highest biomethane production potential in Europe.

Naturgy, in cooperation with Compost Segrià, Sitra and Servei de Gestió Ramadera, has started processing a new renewable gas plant in Torrefarrera (Lleida), one of the main areas of Spain when it comes to the generation of agricultural and livestock waste. A total of 18 million euros is set to be invested in the plant.

The facilities, which are expected to be commissioned in 2025, will process 140,000 tonnes/year of agro-industrial and livestock waste from the region, generating 60 GWh of renewable gas per year. This production is equivalent to the annual consumption of 16,000 homes and will prevent the release 15,000 tonnes of CO2/year into the atmosphere, comparable to planting 25,000 trees.

With this project, Naturgy along with Compost Segriá, Sitra and Servei de Gestió Ramadera demonstrate their firm commitment to the energy transition, local renewable energy production and waste management, as it will provide clean gas to the energy system and contribute to the sustainable management of agro-industrial and livestock waste in the area.

Biomethane generated at the Torrefarrera plant will be injected directly into the Nedgia gas network, the Naturgy Group gas distributor, which is fully prepared to transport renewable gases thanks to investments made by the company in recent years.

Silvia Sanjoaquín, director of New Business at Naturgy, stated that “this new plant is a clear example of the circular economy, thanks to the revaluation of waste to generate energy and to produce fertiliser for agricultural use, while also representing a step further on the path towards the decarbonisation of the energy system”.

In turn, Abel Torrelles, manager at Compost Segrià, stated that “for us, this represents the natural evolution of the composting plant and a significant step towards sustainability and the circular economy. We are committed to innovation and environmental responsibility, and these facilities pay testament to our commitment”.

Ricardo Sáez, managing director at SITRA, asserted that “we continue in our commitment to participating in the development of bioenergy projects, in line with the sustainable development goals and which will contribute to achieving energy self-sufficiency”.

Francesc Miret, co-owner of Servei de Gestió Ramadera, affirmed that “the facilities will not only generate energy, but will also contribute to reducing the pressure of nitrogen fertilisation in the territory, since with the post-treatment proposed, the impact on livestock aquifers associated with the plant will be reduced by half”.

Most of the waste that will be recovered to generate energy at the plant is currently managed at the Compost Segrià composting plant, annexed to the future biomethane facilities.

Additionally, the project will be rounded off with the production of organic manures and fertilisers, which can be used in local crop fields.

Commitment to biomethane

Renewable gas is a green energy with a neutral emissions balance and is fully interchangeable with natural gas, meaning that it can be distributed along existing gas infrastructure and used with the same energy appliances in homes, industries, businesses and transport mobility, thereby contributing to decarbonisation.

The production of renewable gases is aligned with the recently approved REPowerEU package, the European plan to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and to advance the green transition. Within this plan, biomethane will play a key role in substituting the use of natural gas in the coming years.

However, this renewable gas still has development potential in Spain, requiring support mechanisms for its production like those already effective in neighbouring countries such as France and Germany. Spain ranks third in Europe in terms of production potential for this clean gas and could produce an amount equivalent to 40% of conventional gas consumption, according to a recent report published by Sedigas.

Naturgy has staunchly committed to the production and distribution of renewable gas. At present, it is operating three other biomethane production projects:  the Elena plant, in Cerdanyola del Vallès (Barcelona), which was the first to inject renewable gas obtained from landfill into the gas distribution network; the Vila-sana (Lleida) plant, installed on the Porgaporcs livestock farm, which is currently being adapted for commercial operation; and the project located at the Bens wastewater treatment plant, in A Coruña, co-financed by the regional government of Galicia through ERDF funds to generate biomethane from wastewater for mobility purposes.

The company has also launched a project with Greene to research technology that makes it possible to produce syngas biomethanation for injection into the distribution network or for use in mobility. This is a one-of-a-kind project in Spain that will be undertaken at a pilot plant to be built in Elche (Alicante).

In turn, Nedgia, the Naturgy group gas distributor, boasts a distribution network spanning 55,000 km across Spain. In 2022, its networks transported 35 GWh of renewable gas, preventing the release of 7,400 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.