Biobased Energy for Spa

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New local energy supply further reduces carbon emissions

As a follower of Source of Change, you will know how much value we place on CO2 reduction, sourcing locally, and accelerating the circular economy with our partners. As one of the first three organisations in Belgium to switch to biomethane for our energy supply, we are excited to speak with Cedric Cassiers, Product Manager with Luminus about this latest step on our sustainability journey.

Valorising Waste Streams

There are many practical benefits to be found in making the switch to biobased energy sources. Biogas comes from organic waste, such as manure or even compost, which means it is a circular product. As there is a lot of agriculture in Wallonia, where Spa is based, it is produced locally. It also means we are less reliant on foreign energy supplies and geopolitical events that impact the price of energy. Finally, biogas emits much less carbon than traditional gas.

“It’s actually biomethane, not biogas,” explains Cedric. “Biogas comes with some impurities that could corrode the pipelines and so Cinergie, the company that transforms organic waste into biogas, purifies it to biomethane before injecting it into our network for distribution. Luminus purchases this biomethane from Cinergie and sells it on to companies such as Spadel, taking care of all the paperwork including the LGO’s, or labels guarantie d’origine, which confirm where the gas has been produced.”

Turning Gas into Energy

A cogeneration unit at Spa transforms gas to electricity and heat through combustion. This COGEN powers the equipment in our bottling plant, our laptops, even our HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems). Although some CO2 is emitted during the combustion process, it is about half as much as traditional sources would generate. For Spa Monopole this equates to a CO2 reduction of around 3000-4000 tonnes per year, or 30% for our own energy use (scope 1 & 2) and 4% across the entire value chain (scope 1, 2 & 3).

“Natural gas emissions are inherent to its source. Dutch gas has a different factor than gas from Norway, but on average natural gas emits around 251gr CO2 per KWh. Biomethane emits just a fraction of this,” adds Cedric. “That being said, biomethane is a lot more expensive to produce and it’s only thanks to regional subsidies that it is a viable option. Each local government will have its own carbon reduction priorities, so although biomethane offers a lot of potential, only time will tell what role it will play moving forward as we work towards creating a carbon neutral society and circular economy.”

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