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Spain’s first RNG plant with ammonia stripping opens

Spain’s first RNG plant with ammonia stripping opens
On September 14, 2023, representatives from CycleØ Group, and FNX, together with Domingo Serret from Granja La Carbona held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of Spain's first biomethane production facility with integrated ammonia stripping (photo courtesy CycleØ).

For most Spanish livestock farmers, manure management is a big challenge. For Domingo Serret from Granja La Carbona, a partnership with biomethane platform technology provider CycleØ, has meant that Granja La Carbona has found a solution that has turned this challenge into an opportunity.

The farm is home to the first biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG) facility in Spain that integrates ammonia stripping technology, which transforms manure into sustainable fertilizer and represents a clear example of a circular economy in action.

CycleØ Group Ltd (CycleØ) is a European biomethane technology platform and a portfolio company of Ara Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in industrial decarbonization investments,

CycleØ has invested EUR 2.5 million in the development and construction of the facility in Granja La Carbona, which has a maximum production capacity of 15,000 MWh per year.

CycleØ’s wholly-owned industrial subsidiary, FNX, developed, designed, and built the biogas upgrading technology used in this plant.

This includes proprietary, optimized membrane-based cleaning and biogas compression equipment that allow the plant to produce bioCNG or bioLNG with 99 percent purity.

We’re very excited about this project. This is an excellent example of how our modular biogas upgrading technology can bring numerous benefits to the agri-food sector, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing a circular economy model, said Jordi Berengué Piqué, Managing Director of FNX.

Part of a series of investments

This small-scale plant joins another facility in Vilanant, Catalonia, to become CycleØ’s second operational installation in Spain and the company’s first fully developed, owned, built, and operated facility in the country.

The project is part of a series of investments that the company is making in Catalonia and Spain.

In the coming months, CycleØ will complete its third Spanish facility, located on another livestock farm near Granja La Carbona.

The company has invested EUR 2 million in this third plant, which will produce 10 GWh of biomethane per year, equivalent to the annual consumption of 1,250 households.

Bringing RNG development to rural areas

Spain has the potential to generate over 163 TWh of biomethane power. But much of the feedstock needed to realize that potential is located in rural areas where it’s hard to access.

As a response, CycleØ is focused on developing, building, and operating its own small- to medium-scale biomethane plants.

The facilities use proprietary modular upgrading and liquefaction units designed and built by FNX that enable access to valuable feedstock sources.

The biomethane we produce can be injected into existing gas grids, and the bioCNG or bioLNG can be used as fuel for heavy transport. Through projects like this one, we’re investing in Spain’s emerging bioenergy market and helping meet national decarbonization targets—while working with farmers to reduce costs and increase sustainability, explained Laurence Molke, CEO at CycleØ.

First to integrate ammonia stripping in Spain

The project at Granja La Carbona is Spain’s first biomethane project to incorporate ammonia stripping.

This biomethane facility with ammonia stripping is a significant step forward for our operation. Not only will it reduce our waste management costs, but it will also provide us with valuable organic fertilizer, reduce our carbon footprint, and make our operations more sustainable, said Domingo Serret.

The process transforms ammoniacal nitrogen (NH3-N) contained in the liquid fraction of the digestate, the byproduct of anaerobic digestion (AD), into a sustainable biofertilizer suitable for use on all the farm’s crops.

Projects like these are contributing to our mission to help the world reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and meet the RePower EU target of 35 million bcm of biomethane by 2030. We’re also excited to help meet Spain’s energy transition goals, ended Laurence Molke.

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