Agronutris, a forerunner in insect-based proteins that is committed to a new industrial model, has joined forces with ENGIE Solutions to finance, build and operate all the energy facilities at its first factory in Rethel, in the Ardennes region of France.
Founded in 2011, Agronutris is the first French biotech company specialised in rearing and transforming insects into proteins. A forerunner in insect rearing in France, the company plans to scale up its operations and open nine production sites by 2029. Construction of the first 16,000 m² factory has just commenced, and production is due to start in 2022.
In line with its strong environmental commitment through its core activities, Agronutris also places the factory’s energy efficiency high on its list of priorities.
To assist the Toulouse-based company in their expansion, which will boost reindustrialisation, ENGIE Solutions finance by providing €14 M to fund the construction of energy supply facilities. ENGIE Solutions will be responsible for all on-site production facilities – heating, cooling, compressed air, steam – which it will manage energy facilities for 20 years.
Heat from local, renewable sources will be produced by a 2MW biomass boiler plant, providing the majority necessary energy to operate the site. This biomass plant will enable savings of nearly 2,690 tons of CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels per year. ENGIE Solutions will thus provide around 20 GWh/year of useful heat as steam and 7 GWh of cooling in the form of chilled water.
In keeping with the current drive to decarbonise French industry, this biomass plant has received support from the ADEME heat fund and is one of the winning projects in the France Relance scheme.
“We are delighted to launch this partnership, which is not only innovative from a technological and industrial perspective, but also from a financial perspective. Receiving backing from a large group like ENGIE for the new factory will enable Agronutris to accelerate its industrial development,” declared Mehdi Berrada, cofounder and Chairman of Agronutris.
“We are very happy to support Agronutris for this first production site with innovative and efficient solutions as part of the energy transition towards a zero carbon industry. We have positioned ourselves as a partner alongside Agronutris by financing energy equipment, our core business of which we build, operate and maintain”, declared Damien Terouanne, Executive Vice President of ENGIE Solutions.
The operation will be managed by local ENGIE Solutions Champagne Ardennes teams based in Reims.