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Biogas: further success for the start-up BioEnTech

Set up in 2013 using skills developed within INRA and INRIA, the start-up firm BioEnTech can offer supervisory software solutions and support and monitoring services for biogas plants. In 2017, just four years after its creation, it is giving a big boost to its growth…

Some members of BioEnTech, from left to right: J. Miroux, J. Budin, R. Samso and C. Charnier. © INRA, BioEnTech
Updated on 09/18/2017
Published on 05/24/2017

Anaerobic digestion: the French choice

France has chosen to develop a biogas sector based on the recycling of a wide variety of materials, which range from by-products of the food industry to organic urban waste, and include sludge from water treatment plants. For this reason, the management of inputs, and their use as raw materials for anaerobic digestion, constitute key factors that influence the course of the process and the final production of biogas. Optimisation of these processes requires both the characterisation of inputs and the implementation of tools to monitor the performance of biogas plants. Based on this observation, BioEnTech designs software tools that can operate real-time to diagnose the state of digesters and thus optimise their management.

A favourable ecosystem

Since it was set up, BioEnTech has benefited from a particularly favourable environment (see insert). The firm received support from INRA and INRIA when it was created with respect to biological expertise and informatics development, respectively. This start-up, based in Narbonne, works in close partnership with INRA’s Laboratory for Environmental Biotechnology (LBE), whose skills in anaerobic digestion have a global reputation. BioEnTech has also received support from the INRA Transfert Environment (ITE) Business Unit in its development.

Recent news: a fundraising round and launch of a new PIA programme  

In February 2017, this young company announced officially that it had raised funds of €900,000. It wishes to recruit a dozen or so staff between now and 2019 for activities that are currently under development and have been the subject of patent filings. The first segment targeted is that of industrial water treatment plants. The company also wishes to use these funds to propose innovative solutions at an international level.   
Submitted by BioEnTech to the ADEME in 2016, the MAPPED programme (see insert) was recently successful in the call for projects under the French government’s Investments for the Future programme (Projet Investissement d’Avenir; PIA). MAPPED aims to provide practical support for regional actors in biogas under a circular economy approach. The programme is organised around three areas:

  • The deployment of MeMo intelligent supervisory systems (developed by the start-up) in six or seven of the regional biogas plants currently in operation. The partners in this project are currently looking for more plants where this technology could be implemented;
  • The installation of SNAC (titration systems for different components) in around ten plants;
  • The deployment of an innovative methodological approach based on setting up a regional information platform shared by both suppliers and users of waste. This platform will enable the upstream determination of resources that could be turned into biogas, and the downstream characterisation of digestates available for use by agriculture. This platform will also aim to improve the management of biogas plants;
  • Standardisation of the characterisation of ‘digestible’ materials and digestates so as to feed the data on the regional platform.  

At a regional level, the programme aims to:

  • Secure supplies of raw materials for biogas plants;
  • Ensure that sufficient substrates are available for the production of energy;  
  • Optimise the performance of biogas plants;
  • Plan for the spreading of digestates.
Contact(s)
Scientific contact(s):

  • Eric LATRILLE INRA - UR 50 LBE – Laboratory for Environmental Biotechnology, Avenue des Étangs, 11100 Narbonne.
  • Jérémie MIROUX BioEnTech - INNOVEUM – 74 rue Paul Sabatier, 11100 Narbonne
Associated Division(s):
Environment and Agronomy, Microbiology and the Food Chain
Associated Centre(s):
Montpellier

MAPPED

For more information on the MAPPED project

Méthanisation-énergie-Agronomie, Production de Proximité en Economie circulaire et Durable
(Anaerobic digestion-Energy-Agronomy, Local Production in a Circular and Sustainable Economy)
Objective: To give new impetus to the biogas sector at a regional level under a circular economy approach
Industrial partners: BioEnTech (Coordination) – ENGIE -  AKAJOULE
Academic partners: INRA (LBE and ECOSYS) - IRSTEA
Duration of the project: March 2017 – March 2019
Funding and potential accreditation: PIA – ADEME
Overall budget:   €4,730,000

Awards won by BioEnTech

Awards won by BioEnTech:  
2013: BioEnTech won the “Coup de Pousse” competition in the Languedoc –Roussillon region. Challenge: sustainable development of the region.
 
2013: the company became involved in the ANR AUTOFERM project (mastery of on-farm wet anaerobic digestion). 
2014: BioEnTech received an award at the ILAB competition http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/pid24633/i-lab-concours-national-d-aide-a-la-creation-d-entreprises-de-technologies-innovantes-et-prix-pepite.html  organised by MESR and BPI, in the “creation and development” category.
2014: BioEnTech benefited from an ADI programme http://www.bpifrance.fr/Toutes-nos-solutions/Aides-concours-et-labels/Aides-a-l-innovation-projets-individuels/Aide-pour-le-developpement-de-l-innovation organised by Transfert Languedoc Roussillon and BPI regarding the development of its advanced control system for biogas plants in urban STEP.

2015: BioEnTech was joint winner of the ENGIE call for projects – innovative sensors for biogas plants 
2017: the company has just been successful under the PIA call for projects on the circular economy, in a consortium with IRSTEA, INRA and ENGIE (see insert).   

For more information on BioEnTech: