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French multinational energy company Total has acquired renewable gas company Fonroche Biogaz as part of its effort to embark in the low-carbon energy business sector.

Fonroche Biogaz designs, builds and operates anaerobic digestion units in France and has close to 500GWh of installed capacity.

The acquired firm is France’s market leader in the production of renewable gas with more than 10% market share thanks to a portfolio of seven units in operation and a pipeline of four imminent projects, according to a statement.

The firm’s 85 employees will be integrated into Total to help the energy giant to expand its presence in the renewable gas market, with prospects for rapid growth on the French market and for international deployment.

Total is already effective in the renewable gas industry through its affiliates Méthanergy (combined heat and power production from biogas), PitPoint and Clean Energy (biomethane production and distribution via a network of Bio-CNG/Bio-LNG stations) in Benelux and the United States respectively.

In December 2020, Total signed a memorandum of understanding with Clean Energy to establish a $100 million 50/50 joint venture to develop renewable gas production projects in the United States. By 2030, Total plans to produce 4 to 6 TWh of biomethane a year.

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Philippe Sauquet, president gas, renewables & power at Total, said: “This acquisition is consistent with our strategy and our climate ambition to get to Net Zero by 2050. We believe that renewable gas has a key role to play in the energy transition as it contributes to reducing the carbon intensity of natural gas – and we support the imposition of renewable gas incorporation in natural gas networks.

“In 2020, we stated our intention to contribute to the development of this sector, which we expect to become more competitive in the next few years. We intend to produce 1.5 terawatt-hours (TWh) of biomethane a year by 2025 and Fonroche Biogas is therefore the cornerstone of our development in this market.”

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Yann MAUS, the founder of Fonroche Group, adds: “We are proud to join the Total Group, which has shown strong vision and ambition, by launching a massive and sustainable investment program in renewable energies. Our integrated business model combined with Total’s strength and global reach gives us a positive and sustainable outlook for the future. Their excellent track record in the solar sector – both in terms of the duration of their investments and their strong growth – has confirmed our decision to combine the expertise of Fonroche Biogaz teams with this French energy major.”