The LIGER bioenergy center : the heart of a terrorial initiative

Actors of LIGER project during the open doors organised for the Sustainable Development week in April 2013 (c) Le télégramme

Actors of LIGER project during the open doors organised for the Sustainable Development week in April 2013 (c) Le télégramme

Published by Yannick Régnier on

In May 2011, the commune and Community of Communities of Locminé (Morbihan), in partnership with a number of local participants, embarked on an ambitious territorial energy initiative by founding the SEM LIGER. The central goal of the project was to establish a bio-energy center. The local communities, industries that supply raw materials, clients of the heat distribution network, and several local businesses also joined forces to support this groundbreaking EnR development project.

The bioenergy center

LIGER (Locminé Innovation et Gestion des Energies Renouvelables or Locminé Innovation and Renewable Energy Management) utilizes two energy sources from the territorial biomass —wood and organic resources— to produce electricity, heat, and fuel, as well as organic fertilizer. The project is based on several complementary, conceptually integrated processes.

A collective methanization unit was the focus of initial discussions that continued throughout the process. Typically, biogas is nearly always optimized through cogeneration: The electricity produced is sold through the grid and the heat is distributed via a heat network that prioritizes heating public facilities [1].
The discussions took on a far broader dimension after the following observations were taken into consideration:

  • The existence of additional thermic opportunities due to the presence of nearby industrial facilities
  • The seasonal nature of consumption of public facilities versus the permanent production of heat by the cogeneration process
  • The need to limit the size of the methanization unit to its digestate utilization capacity by integrating several phases, including a treatment plant, the composting center, application, transformation, and export…

The choice was made to link a wood-fired heat-generation plant to the methanization process in order to achieve an optimal energy level, and a safe and reliable generating capacity that benefited from synergies such as seasonal complementarity between the heating needs of an industrial plant and those of the community. A final idea that helped to bring the project together: some of the biogas (11%) will be reserved for conversion to biomethane fuel for the trucks used to transport materials (up to 30%) and vehicles belonging to the community and users of the site (up to 70%). This “icing on the cake” will allow the center to proudly proclaim itself a “decarbonized zone”.
Compliance with this slogan will be rigorous: vehicles that burn fossil fuel will be symbolically forbidden from entering the site! The wood-heating plant, which is connected to the heat distribution system, has been operating since summer 2012, and within the coming months, the methanization unit will begin operating.

From projects of territorial interest to a territorial project !

The overall performance of the project will benefit the entire territory by creating a value-added that will be continually reinvested. The expectations of users of the service will be addressed more effectively, and they will also benefit from enhanced quality of services and equipment and reduced energy costs due to reduced heating expenses. In terms of benefits for the territory as a whole, the center offers a superb opportunity to achieve its sustainable development goals, including biomethane fuel, which is less expensive and less polluting, which will help to better control of communities’ fuel costs.
Furthermore, the territory is consolidating and creating jobs by implementing a major policy of buying from local suppliers. The project helps structure the local economy, and it is exemplary in its consideration of local and global environmental considerations [2], as well as fulfilling an educational mission by enabling the creation of the “LIGER Pole”.
For a total investment of 11.6 million €, the LIGER Energy Center will replace the importation of nearly 20,000 barrels of crude oil annually, helping to save over 2 million € for the territory and for the national balance of trade.

Key project statistics

  • Cogeneration energy production: 1,5 MWe and 1,6 MWth
  • Wood-heating plant production: 1,5 MW
  • Biogas production: over 4 million m3
  • Total resources used: 59,000 tons (96% from less than 20 km distance)
  • Production of 10,300 MWh of green electricity, heat, and hot water at 90°C sold 6035 MWh
  • Annual nitrogen resorption of 223 tons and phosphorous resorption of 145 tons
  • Production of biomethane fuel: the equivalent of 300,000 liters of diesel fuel/year

[1] Including a new aquatic center, new cultural space, a new high school and middle school, and new sports facilities.
[2] Reducing greenhouse gas emissions.