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26.10.2020 | Axpo Iberia signs Spain’s first long-term biomethane deal with pioneering milk farm

Why cowpats can be good for the climate

Axpo Iberia is helping to convert cow manure into renewable energy: The first fully energy self-sufficient dairy farm in Spain will transform all its organic waste into 100% renewable biogas and electricity. This is made possible by a long-term agreement with Axpo to buy and sell biomethane, the first of its kind in Spain - and by close cooperation between Axpo experts on the Iberian Peninsula and in Switzerland.

A modern biogas plant constructed on the Torre Santamaría family farm in Vallfogona de Balaguer (Lleida), Catalonia, will convert cow manure from its dairy herd into biomethane. Some of the gas will be used to generate electricity for the farm’s own use, whereas the excess biomethane is fed into the gas network.

Significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

The system will enable the farm to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to nearly zero in 2021. It will also generate additional income by selling the excess clean biomethane to the gas network.

The approximately EUR 4 million investment was made possible, following the signing with Axpo of the first long-term agreement in Spain to buy and sell the biomethane being produced.

After signing the agreement, Axpo Iberia’s Managing Director Ignacio Soneira, highlighted the importance of long-term sales agreements in developing viable biomethane projects: “Axpo Iberia was the first company to sell biomethane in Spain, back in 2015, and without a doubt, this innovative project represents a new milestone in our commitment to 100% renewable fuel that contributes to the sustainability objectives the European Union has set for 2030.

Satisfied faces at the signing of the contract
Cross-border cooperation leads to success

Under the contract with the Torre Santamaría dairy farm, Axpo Iberia is responsible for feeding the physical gas into the grid and marketing it in Spain, while a Zurich-based company receives all biogas certificates from the Spanish dairy farm's plant under an agreement with Axpo's Swiss origination team.

Laurent Nanzer, Head Origination Switzerland at Axpo, says: "This deal is an example of how we can successfully cooperate across borders within the Axpo Group, generate additional income and at the same time make a contribution to the environment. We are delighted that we, as Axpo's Origination team in Switzerland, were able to play an active role in this milestone for the Spanish market by selling the biogas certificates to a Swiss company.”

Biogas plant on the Spanish dairy farm
Exemplary for the future of the dairy sector

The commitment of the Lactalis Group, to which Torre Santamaría has been delivering its milk for the past 30 years, was also a major factor in reaching this renewable energy milestone.

Lactalis Group director for milk collection, José Enrique García, said: “We believe this type of environmental investment is an example of what the future holds for the Spanish dairy sector. We will continue to support the steps taken by the management team at Torre Santamaría based on our long-term partnership. For our part, we will continue working on the sustainability of fields and raw materials, improving the transport of such materials, collecting milk in close proximity to plants and optimising our transport routes with the aim of reducing emissions.”

So that in the future not only the Spanish cowpats can do something for the climate.

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