French farm uses chicory waste for energy

For a month now, the chicory production site in Soyécourt has been lit thanks to chicory waste used in a biogas container beside the fields. The idea of creating gas with organic waste has an enormous potential for farmers. It is already being done with carrots in the Landes and cow manure in the Ardennes.

When growing chicory there is a lot of waste as the roots and ugly outer leaves must be removed. Until recently the farm in Soyécourt would transform this waste into fertiliser but rules are getting stricter and the process pollutes too much. This is when the idea to put the waste into a container and heat it arose.

Thanks to an electric motor, the waste produces a converted gas that is used for lighting and heating the buildings. The installation was expensive costing €3 million, but it will allow them to half their electricity bills. The investment will pay off in 8 years.

Setting up such a project was very energy demanding, and it was necessary to go through with it to save the site and their 120 employees. However they do say that the administrate procedures need to be simplified - for the time being it is a nightmare. It took them 7 years to install a biogas container and get the green light.

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