ENGIE Solutions signs €14 million deal with insect farmer Agronutris to provide and maintain energy supply facilities

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ENGIE Solutions to support Agronutris by financing, building and operating the energy equipment of its factory based in Rethel, France.

A press release from Agronutris, issued on Wednesday announces that the insect-based protein company 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. 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.

To assist the Toulouse-based company in their expansion, ENGIE Solutions finance by providing €14 million 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.

According to the release by the company, 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.

This biomass plant has received support from the ADEME heat fund and is one of the winning projects in the France Relance scheme.

Mehdi Berrada, cofounder and Chairman of Agronutris declared, “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.”

Damien Terouanne, Executive Vice President of ENGIE Solutions commented, “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.”

The operation will be managed by local ENGIE Solutions Champagne Ardennes teams based in Reims.