Wood and straw energy plant, France
In 2002, two farmers Jacques and Charles Schneider contacted the Nuclear Energy public body CEA in French to propose them to produce and sell them heat energy from straw. These two farmers set up a Limited Liability Company SARL in French called AGROénergie. Its business consisted in producing and selling energy from farming by-products and obtained from neighbouring farms the implementation of a straw gathering system. This company has built the plant and the network, operates the installation and organize straw deliveries. The wood and straw energy plant has a 5MW capacity and is wood and straw fuelled. The company has signed a 12 year contract with the CEA (a public research institute), which committed itself to buy at least 20.400 MWh per year at a defined and revisable price, all included (fuel purchase, repairs, maintenance, installations depreciation).
The new wood and straw energy plant makes it possible to cover 2/3 of needs of French CEA for an energy supply of at least 20.400 MWh on the period of heating.
To ensure part of deliveries, AGROénergie entered into supplying contracts on three years with two local farmers who could deliver 2.000 tonnes of wood per year.
The operation of this company has positive consequences on local employment in the matter of consolidation and creation. In fact, straw supply makes it possible to create a new activity for 10 local plants, which are situated in the surrounding 10 km. The keeping of the plant€s outdoors allowed also to consolidate a job partly paid by the community. Finally, the operation of the wood/straw energy plant led to full time jobs.
In the matter of environment, the use of mixed wood and straw helps to reduce GEG emissions: each year more than 6.000 tonnes of GEG from fossil fuel and 29 tonnes of sulphur are no longer discharged in the atmosphere.
Lessons learned and repeatability
The company created by the two men produces and sells energy from farm by-products such as straw and wood. The boiler delivers practically 2 thirds of the energy needs of CEA Valduc site, at 1.400 m from there.
Straw is bought in the neighbouring 25 km. The wood itself comes from neighbouring sawmills in order to avoid transport. This project makes local people live there. In fact, during the installation of the wood/straw energy plant, an amount of 514.000 € was spent on works ordered to firms situated at 45 km from there.
Supplying this plant gives an extra outlet for straw at 10 local farms. A job has been created and the keeping of the outdoors of the plant allows to maintain a job paid partly by the community. It is worth mentioning that this installation will save 1.950 toe of import, by recycling 6.070 tonnes of biomass/year, that is to say 6.390 tonnes of GEG from fossil fuel and 29 tonnes of suphur will no longer be discharged in the atmosphere each year.
At least, the success of this operation lies in the partnership developed between these two farmers and the other local one, which represents a good illustration of the diversification of resources and energy supply.
Printed reports or other literature available: Magazine €Energie Plus€- Number 366 (15 May 2006)
Title: €Biomasse: Paille et bois chauffent le CEA de Valduc€ (page 31 to 34)
Cost: 15 €