Skip to content

In 2023, TotalEnergies started up Biobéarn, its eighteenth biogas production unit, in Mourenx in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France. In the long term, at full capacity, the unit will valorize over 220,000 tons of green waste per year, transforming it into 200,000 tons of natural fertilizer and 160 GWh of biogas, i.e. the average consumption of 32,000 people. PERL and CSTJF are a true centre of R&D expertise serving this industry.


Biogas - clean, local and renewable

As a major biogas leader in France and in Europe, TotalEnergies is aiming for global production of 10 TWh in 2030, i.e. the equivalent of the annual average consumption of 2 million people, and a two-million-ton reduction in CO₂ emissions. With BioBéarn, the Company will boost its national biogas production to almost 700 GWh.

Biogas is obtained through a process called anaerobic digestion, whereby perishable matter is decomposed by anaerobic bacteria. This fermentation process converts the organic waste into a digestate. Some is returned to the earth as fertilizer, while another part is converted into biogas by the anaerobic digestion unit.

Biogas is a renewable energy composed of methane and carbon dioxide. It can be converted into heat and electricity by means of a cogeneration process. Once purified, it has the same properties as natural gas and can be injected into the existing transport and storage networks. It can be used in many different sectors, including land or sea transport, as BioNGV or BioLNG.

Another advantage is that it’s local energy. "Anaerobic digestion is used to valorize the waste produced by the agro-food industries (breweries, sugar refineries, canning factories, etc.), farms (liquid manure, manure, straw, beet pulp, etc.) and regional community activities and services (canteens, green spaces, water treatment)", explains Mathieu Patalano, Head of the BioBéarn site at TotalEnergies Biogas France "The BioBéarn anaerobic digestion plant is already running with over 90 organic matter suppliers located 40 kilometers from the site on average".


A team of researchers at the CSTJF and the PERL

In under three years, TotalEnergies has developed a flourishing Research & Development ecosystem in the Béarn region. At the CSTJF in Pau and at the Platform for Experimental Research in Lacq (PERL), a dozen engineers and technicians are involved in programs covering the different anaerobic digestion techniques: new feedstocks, processing and marketing of the digestate and biogenic CO₂.

"Our roadmap is very clear: develop innovative solutions to maximize the production of biomethane, process and market co-products such as the digestate and biogenic CO₂ with a focus on reducing the carbon footprint and costs across the anaerobic digestion chain, to meet the ambition of the biogas BU by 2030".

Cecilia Sambusiti,
R&D Biogas project lead.


"R&D Biogas works on anaerobic digestion with the Environment and Sustainable Development department at the PERL. A platform equipped with all the tools required to monitor and optimize this process is used to run tests upstream of an anaerobic digestion project (optimizing production, biological stability, energy efficiency, etc.). The researchers benefit from a local fabric conducive to innovation, and partnerships have already been forged with the University of Pau and the Pays de l’Adour, the IPREM (Institute of Analytical Sciences and Physico-Chemistry for Environment and Materials) laboratory, and the APESA technological center, to mention a few" explains Florian Monlau, Engineer and Head of the Biogas Laboratory in the Environment and Sustainable Development department at the PERL. Alongside that, an anaerobic digestion pilot is being developed by the R&D teams at the CSTJF and the PERL to upscale the technologies developed in the laboratory. It will be implemented on the BioBéarn industrial site at the end of March 2025.

Find out more: