Nedgia examines feasibility of producing renewable gas from rice straw in Valencia

  • As a fine example of the circular economy, this initiative would also help solve the environmental problem caused by waste from the rice farming industry.

NEDGIA, the natural gas distributor of the Naturgy group, has launched a pilot scheme in Paterna (Valencia) to examine the feasibility of producing renewable gas from rice straw based on anaerobic digestion technology.

The project, which will last five months, will take place at the AINIA Technology Centre in Paterna, a benchmark R&D centre in the field of anaerobic digestion and biogas production from organic waste. The project will be supported by the engineering firm, Genia Bioenergy, which specialises in biomethanisation plants.

The aim is to obtain biogas using anaerobic digestion technology, which would then be treated and enriched to achieve sufficient quality for injection into the NEDGIA distribution network, as well as a fertiliser product that could be re-applied in farming. This is therefore a solution focused on a circular economy model, in which energy waste (renewable gas) and materials (fertilisers) is reused, reducing local pollution and greenhouse gases.

This experimental test seeks to resolve the environmental problem that exists in the Region of Valencia regarding the management of waste from rice crops. It would also be applicable to other rice producing regions, such as Andalusia and the Ebro Delta.

If the project proves to be feasible, it would have an important economic and social impact in the Region of Valencia and would help to conserve flora and fauna in the Albufera Natural Park, a protected area of natural interest.

With this new project, NEDGIA is making progress on its firm commitment to renewable gas as a solution to support economic decarbonisation. The company collaborates on the development of projects to demonstrate and innovate in production and cost reduction processes, and takes part in the main working groups alongside other companies in the sector and the public authorities to share experiences and align outlooks from the various stakeholders on the development of renewable gas.

Green energy

Renewable gas is a green energy with a neutral CO2 emissions balance and is fully interchangeable with natural gas, meaning that it can be distributed along the more than 87,000 kilometres of existing gas infrastructure and used with the same energy appliances in homes, industries, businesses and transport mobility.

The development of renewable gas will help meet a number of energy and climate targets set by the European Union by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the use of renewable energies. It is also the most significant energy-related driving force in the circular economy: it offers a solution to the organic waste management problem by repurposing this resource (production of renewable energy and bioproducts, mainly bio-fertilisers) and fostering development in rural areas through job creation and the stimulation of business activity.

Presence in the Valencia Region

NEDGIA operates in the Region of Valencia through its natural gas distribution company in the region, NEDGIA Cegas. The company manages approximately 660,000 supply points in close on 200 municipalities, as well as a distribution network in excess of 8,700 kilometres, providing 87% of the population with access to this energy source.