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Coal Mine Methane (or Abandoned Mine Methane) is converted into green electricity and heat in Hauts-de-France

Our affiliate Gazonor, located in Hauts-de-France has a strong and unique expertise in CCM production, based on 25 years of experience. Most of the coal available in the underground (20 billions of tons) has not been extracted by Charbonnages de France. The mine gas trapped into this coal is mainly composed of methane (CH4) and was known as firedamp (« grisou »). This gas naturally fills the galeries and is captured by GAZONOR using old shafts or vent wells. This activity avoids important gas release and greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.

Today GAZONOR innovates with remote-controlled cogeneration projects converting the firedamp into a clean energy for the local community.

Energy transition in the heart of a simple production process:

A compression unit captures the firedamp gas and then sends it to a combustion engine that produces green electricity and heat.

The engine’s heat is captured from the exhaust and cooling system that is used to produce hot water that can be injected into the grid for public or private buildings within a few kilometers.

In 2017, GAZONOR invested 7 million Euros for its first green electricity production sites
(9MW production capacity)

6 cogeneration units (gas engines) are running since July 2017 = green electricity supply for 40 000 people per year


CBM (Coal Bed Methane) is the product of a maturation of essentially vegetable organics, buried for years with high pressure and temperature, that solidify and get enriched with carbon.

The Lorraine Coal is known for its high gas content (more than 96% CH4). The coal seams, dated from Carboniferous period, are very thick (up to 15 m) and were extracted by an important mining activity up to 2004.

The pumping of the water, naturaly present in the coal, will decrease the pressure in the coal seam. The gas molecules detach from the coal matrix and migrate up to well using its natural fractures network (cleats). No stimulation nor hydrolic fracturing is requested to produce the gas.

The Coal Bed Methane is key to the ecological transition :

An independent study performed in 2016 by the IFEU (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research de Heidelberg, Germany) highlighted that the production of CBM in Lorraine has a carbon foot print 10 times smaller than the actual French gas mix.


Production site identification

Interpretation and analysis studies allowing to understand the depositional environment and estimate the coal volumes and gas quantities present in the subsurface.


The next step is to realize the work needed to access the ressource.


During this step the gas production from the wells is launched. La Francaise de l’Energie’s first choice is to transfer the gas to local customer using existing network or through dedicated pipelines (industrial clients). Depending on the client’s location, cogeneration units may be installed in order to produce green electricity and heat. A CPR conducted by MHA consultants in 2018 certified, within the asset « Bleue Lorraine », 1 783 million cubic meters of proven reserves and up to 32 billion cubic meters of contingent resources.


Installation of the first CMM production site in Belgium

Gazonor Benelux, 100% owned by La Française de l’Energie, obtained in May 2018 the first CMM production permit on Anderlues asset, in Belgium, with a 20 years validity.

Anderlues site produce 3MWh of green electricity and heat since May 2019.

Unité de test mobile connectée au puits de mines à Anderlues, Belgique, 2018.

Development of renewable energies

In addition to its historic activities, La Française de l’Energie is engaged in the development of solar energies.

In this context, several projects for photovoltaic parks and solar thermal power plants are being studied in the Grand Est and Hauts-de-France regions. Brownfields intended to accommodate these installations have already been identified. La Française de l’Energie works in close collaboration with major players in the solar energy sector to determine the best deployable technology to provide energy that is environmentally and economically competitive. As such, La Française de l’Energie has joined forces with Total Quadran in the framework of an exclusive partnership in order to develop, build and operate photovoltaic electricity production sites in the Hauts-de- France and Grand Est.

Similarly, the establishment of an agricultural biomethane production unit is also being studied.