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NextChem awarded advanced basic engineering study contract

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NextChem has been awarded a contract by Storengy to deliver an advanced basic engineering study for a waste wood and solid recovered fuel conversion plant to produce biomethane.

The final investment decision for the project is targeted as the end of 2022.

Once it is granted the related permitting, NextChem - in association with another subsidiary of Maire Tecnimont - will be EPC contractor for the methanation package of the project, which is set to be implemented in Le Havre, France.

Storengy, an ENGIE subsidiary, is one of the world leaders in underground natural gas storage. Drawing on 70 years of experience, Storengy designs, develops and operates storage facilities and offers its customers innovative products.

Storengy wants to become the European reference in hydrogen storage and in production of renewable gases, which are of particular relevance in the current market environment to deliver a clean, secure and affordable energy transition.

NextChem is Maire Tecnimont Group’s company for the development of technologies in the field of green chemistry and energy transition, with a portfolio including proprietary and exclusive licensed technologies and technology integration platforms focused on three areas: reduction of pollutant and GHG emissions released from existing plants, mechanical recycling and chemical recycling, as well as technologies which use biomass or biological raw materials to produce intermediates, bio-fuels and bio-plastics.

NextChem will be responsible for the engineering and cost estimating for the syngas purification, methanation unit and methane upgrading of the plant, which will produce 11,000 tons per annum of renewable and low carbon natural gas (biomethane).

French company COMESSA will be responsible for the design and supply of the chemical reactor. The technology to be used in the plant has already been successfully applied to the Gaya pilot plant near Lyon, owned by ENGIE, which validated the feasibility to produce biomethane.

This will be the first commercial project in the world of its kind to inject in the grid methane produced 2 through pyrogasification of waste wood, kick-starting the so called “second generation biomethane”.

NextChem and Storengy will also establish a broader cooperation agreement with the aim that NextChem would act as strategic partner, co-developer and co-licensor of the Gaya technology currently patented and owned by ENGIE.

Alessandro Bernini, CEO of Maire Tecnimont and NextChem, commented: “One of the main challenges today is to find solutions for the substitution of natural gas of fossil origin with sustainable alternatives: in order to reach this objective, our group is actively developing a range of solutions to produce biogas and syngas from waste.

"We are proud of this engagement with ENGIE that allows us to broaden our green tech portfolio and further strengthen our presence in Europe in Energy Transition.”

Camille Bonenfant-Jeanneney, CEO at Storengy, commented: “Storengy salutes this agreement with Tecnimont Group and NextChem, which is a great opportunity to pursue common development projects in order to offer concrete, innovative and replicable solutions to our clients. In a carbon-neutral world, renewable gases will play an essential role to provide resiliency and flexibility to the energy system.”