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CMA CGM, ENGIE to invest in biomethane production

CMA CGM Jacques Saade
CMA CGM Group and French utility company ENGIE have announced they will co-invest in the first industrial and commercial unit for second-generation biomethane production, the Salamander project.

The Salamander project is the application on an industrial scale of 10 years of research and development conducted by ENGIE within the framework of the GAYA project, which has demonstrated the technical, economic and environmental viability of producing renewable gas.

CMA CGM’s and ENGIE’s decision is the first concrete project under the strategic partnership that the two companies signed in November 2021.

 CMA CGM will acquire a stake in the Salamander project and the launch decision is expected to be made in late 2022. A funding request has been submitted to the European Commission’s Innovation Fund.

The production site is in the port city of Le Havre and the unit will be fuelled by dry biomass from local wood-waste sources, along with solid recovered fuel, and will produce the biomethane via the pyro-gasification process.

The $150m site will aim to produce 11,000 tonnes of second-generation biomethane annually, starting in 2026.

By developing the renewable gas industry and the Salamander project, both CMA CGM and ENGIE will help achieve the energy independence and energy transition goals set forth by the European Commission in the RepowerEU plan, the partners claim.

CMA CGM and ENGIE have also expressed the intention to produce together up to 200,000 tonnes of renewable gas annually worldwide by 2028, to meet the needs of CMA CGM and the shipping industry.

The CMA CGM Group, which aims to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050, already has a fleet of 30 dual-fuel “e-methane ready” ships in operation and wants to increase this number to 77 by the end of 2026.

Moreover, the dual-fuel engine technology developed by CMA CGM, which currently runs on liquefied natural gas (LNG), is already capable of using bioLNG, as well as synthetic methane.

“ENGIE is innovating with a new local production method for second-generation biomethane using wood waste, underpinned by an energy production technology involving pyro-gasification process,” said Edouard Savage, evp of infrastructure at ENGIE.

“To reach our target of net-zero carbon by 2050, the CMA CGM Group is seeking to form solid industrial partnerships, led by this initiative with ENGIE that aims to produce up to 200,000 tons of renewable gas annually by 2028,” added Christine Cabau Woehrel, Executive Vice President of Assets and Operations at CMA CGM.