A unique industrial biogas-to-energy cogeneration plant has been unveiled at a manufacturing facility owned by L’Oreal in Libramont, Belgium. The on-site technology means that the production site is, in principle, independent of the public electricity and natural gas grid, providing in its own energy needs.

The project is the result of cooperation between the Belgian developer of sustainable energy, Bio Energie Europa, energy company Eneco and L’Oreal.

An industrial biogas plant was built close to the L’Oreal plant in Libramont. Biomass, from local farmers and the agro alimentary industry, is collected in a sealed tank, in which bacteria convert the biomass into methane through fermentation. This biogas is then transported through a 600 metre subterranean pipeline to the factory.

The biogas bought by L’Oreal is used in three cogeneration engines which produce both steam and power, all of which is used by the factory, with any excess power exported to the public grid.

For L’Oreal, completion of the project marks an important step towards achieving its goal of reducing its worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide by over 50% by 2015.