A great team in a great nation

The French biogas market is booming — at least if the current order situation for EnviTec Biogas in France is anything to go by. By May 2020, the German biogas all-rounder had completed a total of 15 facilities in Europe’s biggest agricultural nation, seven of which were gas upgrading plants with a total capacity of 1,920 Nm3/h. 

“Construction work is now underway on ten facilities and we plan to commission another eleven plants before the end of the year,” says Christian Ernst. The Managing Director of the French branch of EnviTec Biogas is unsurprisingly very positive about business, given the pipeline of new orders resulting from the attractive feed-in tariffs here in France. “We’re currently talking to a lot of potential new customers interested in building a gas upgrading plant,” Ernst reports, “and many plant engineering contracts have now already been signed.” Since the conversion of biogas into biomethane is a sophisticated technical process Ernst is seeing a lot of demand for the all-in-one plant maintenance contracts offered by the Service team. While still very much a runner-up to Germany, Italy, the UK and Czechia in terms of installed biogas capacity, France nonetheless now has an impressive tally of completed biogas plants. By the end of 2019, 776 biogas plants with a CHP unit and an installed total capacity of 493 MW had been connected to the grid, of which 77 percent are agricultural biogas plants. A total of 123 plants with gas upgrading have fed 2.2 TWh/year into the natural gas grid: most of these plants—some 80 percent—are agricultural plants. 

Since the formation of the branch office in Plédran in 2008, the local EnviTec team has expanded to meet rising demand in France. Erwann Porrot, one of the members of the original team, looks back: “During the first few years, we were focused primarily on establishing our business and developing the French market,” he recalls. “With the completion of our first reference plant in Brittany, we laid the foundations for our company’s subsequent success story.” France continues to be one of Europe’s most dynamic markets for the production of biogas and biomethane. Fixed feed-in tariffs for biomethane and the government’s declared goal of reducing the high proportion of nuclear in the energy mix from 75 to 50 percent by 2025 both aim to increase renewables to 32 percent from the current 19.8 percent by 2030 . 

Rising demand for plant engineering ‘Made in Germany’ has also been driving expansion in the Service division. “About 80 percent of all EnviTec construction projects now planned lie within a radius of 300 km around metropolitan Paris,” explains Martin Brinkmann, Managing Director of EnviTec Service GmbH. Which was reason enough to establish a new Service office in Coudun, to the north-east of Paris. Christian Ernst: “Thanks to its excellent transport links in particular, our new branch is also perfect for working together with our customers in France.” Alongside a dedicated warehouse and a technical back office, the new Service branch will also be home to the Technical and Biological service teams. Ernst: “Over the last twelve years, EnviTec Biogas has built a reputation on the French market for high-quality plants with outstanding technical availability. It’s something we’re very proud of.”