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Total acquires Fonroche Biogaz to develop renewable gas in Europe

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Total has acquired Fonroche Biogaz, a company that designs, builds, and operates anaerobic digestion (AD) units in France.

With almost 500 GWh of installed capacity, which doubled between 2019 and 2020, Fonroche Biogaz is today the French 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.

The acquisition marks a significant step in Total’s development in the renewable gas market, with prospects for rapid growth in France and international deployment.

Yann Maus, president and founder of Fonroche Group, said: “We are proud to join the Total Group, which has shown strong vision and ambition, by launching a massive and sustainable investment programme 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 out decision to combine the expertise of Fonroche Biogaz teams with this French energy major.”

With this acquisition, Total becomes a major player in renewable gas in France and Europe and strengthens its presence in the sector, already effective through its affiliates Methanergy (combined heat and power production from biogas), PitPoint and Clean Energy (biomethane production and distribution via a network of bio-CNG and bio-LNG stations) in Benelux and the US, respectively.

In December, Total signed a memorandum of understanding with Clean Energy to establish a $100 million (€82 million) 50/50 joint venture to develop renewable gas production projects in the US. By 2030, Total plans to produce 4-6 TWh of biomethane annually.

“This acquisition is consistent with our strategy and our climate ambition to get to net zero by 2050,” said Total’s president of gas, renewables and power, Philippe Sauquet.

“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 TWh of biomethane a year by 2025 and Fonroche Biogas is, therefore, the cornerstone of our development in this market.”