Axpo Iberia inaugurates pioneering biogas plant in Spain

Axpo Iberia has inaugurated the first biogas plant in Spain to convert all organic waste from a livestock operation into 100% renewable biogas and electricity.

Axpo Iberia, the Spanish subsidiary of Axpo, a major producer of renewable energy and a leader in energy trading, worked with family-owned Torre Santamaría dairy cattle farm in Catalonia on the project.

Under a long-term contract, Axpo Iberia will feed the biomethane into the local gas grid. The cooperation between Axpo and the dairy farm creates a model for other facilities wishing to convert solid and liquid manure into energy and reduce the livestock sector’s environmental impact.

The farm’s investment of nearly €4 million in a state-of-the-art biogas plant was made possible by the signing of a long-term contract with Axpo Iberia for the purchase and marketing of biomethane – the first such agreement in Spain.

All organic waste from the farm, in the Catalan municipality of Vallfogona de Balaguer, is converted into biomethane. The gas is then used to generate electricity for the farm, with any surplus gas fed into the local grid, operated by Spain’s gas distributor, Nedgia.

“Solid and liquid manure have a negative impact on land, groundwater and the atmosphere due to methane emissions,” said Axpo Iberia’s managing director, Ignacio Soneira, at the plant’s inauguration.

“When we convert this waste into biomethane, we can use it fully in the form of energy that is consumed at the dairy farm or fed into the gas grid.”

In Catalonia alone, approximately 8 million pigs, 700,000 cattle and 38 million chickens generate about 17 million tonnes of liquid manure. Two years ago, the European Commission issued Spain with an ultimatum to deal with the issue of land contamination. As a result, the interest in biogas plants for local livestock and agriculture in Spain has increased significantly in recent years.

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