Major biomass boiler project enhances Oterra’s environmental strategy

Natural colours business, Oterra, has made a major investment in delivering an advanced 3.5MW biomass boiler at the Cossé-le-Vivien site in France, as part of its decarbonisation measures, reports Neill Barston.

To mark the occasion, it invited  guests, including Christophe Langouët, the local mayor, and Benoît LaCroix, regional deputy director of Ademe Pays de la Loire, with the inauguration ceremony led by Luc Ganivet, general manager of the company’s French operations, as well as Hervé Presa, Pays de la Loire regional director at ENGIE Solutions.

Established in Cossé-le-Vivien since 1929, now owned by Danish group Oterra, the site specialises in producing colour from natural sources. Today, Oterra cements its commitment to sustainability by accelerating decarbonization through the implementation of a biomass boiler and thereby reducing CO2e emission with more than 3,000 tons annually.

As the company noted, the biomass boiler effectively covers over 82% of the site’s steam requirements and with this new biomass boiler setup, and with a new gas steam boiler to provide backup and support.

The new setup has been designed and implemented by ENGIE Solutions. The 3.5 MW biomass boiler at Oterra’s site efficiently utilises wood chip byproducts from woodland and agroforestry residue, sourced from within 150 km of the plant – manifesting Oterra’s commitment to local, renewable energy and sustainable resource management in general. Notably, the project secured victory in the 2020 BCIAT call for projects, Biomass Heat for Industry, Agriculture, and Tertiary Sectors, led by ADEME, with a subsidy of approximately €1.8 million.

Furthermore, the biomass boiler’s operation and biomass sourcing adhere to BCIAT requirements, ensuring responsible practices with 80% wood chips and 20% wood by-products sourced from local forests, woodlands, and agroforestry residues.

“Our sustainability strategy is intricately linked with our core purpose – making natural food and beverage easy for a sustainable and healthy world. We actively address climate impact as a central part of our strategy, with our targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), confirming our commitment to a 1.5-degree pathway,” said Luc Ganivet, general manager of Oterra France.

He added: “Replacing the old fuel boiler with the biomass boiler at the Cossé-le-Vivien site is a significant step forward to reduce Oterra’s direct emissions. This investment is estimated to give us an impressive 25% reduction of our Scope 1 impacts annually, equivalent to removing 700 petrol-powered cars from the roads a full year or planting close to 50,000 tree seedlings and letting them grow for 10 years”.

Benoît Lacroix, regional deputy director of Ademe Pays de la Loire, added, “The Biomass Heat Industry Agriculture Tertiary (BCIAT) call for projects launched annually by ADEME enables companies to decarbonise their processes while relying on locally sourced biomass resources, thereby contributing to the economic development of the region.”

Oterra’s investment in the biomass boiler at the Cossé-le-Vivien site underscores their dedication to environmental stewardship, innovation, and collaboration. This initiative not only signifies a pivotal moment in their decarbonisation efforts but also highlights their proactive approach towards achieving a more sustainable future.


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