My core beliefs are what drove me to focus my career path on the environment, more specifically waste treatment and energy. I run a people-to-people business. My name is Sébastien Paolozzi, and I’m the president of Prodeval.

Une affaire d'humains Ă  humains oĂą cohabitent technologie, agriculture et Ă©levage.
The Methamoly project: A dose of modern in the fields. Photo Frederic Berthet, GRDF.

 

I’ve had the good fortune, both in my personal and professional life, to have my wife Valérie by my side. At Prodeval, Valérie oversees all administrative management duties. I’d like to also add that we have three obviously amazing daughters!

 

I grew up in the Paris region and studied at the Douai School of Mining Engineering (École des Mines de Douai). My leisure time is spent doing very basic, nature-oriented activities, particularly mountain sports. Today, I live in a small village in the Vercors region of Drôme. I admit to having a happy-go-lucky personality, feasting on French cuisine, and indulging in the pleasures of the Italian good life.

 

My core beliefs are what drove me to focus my career path on the environment, more specifically waste treatment and energy. And biogas is the link between these two sectors of activity.

 

My discovery of Prodeval and its potential

 

In 2009, after five years as an employee, I had the opportunity to take over the business. At that time, the company—with a staff of five in France—was specialized in degassing landfill sites. My predecessor wanted to retire and suggested that I take his place. I saw this as an opportunity to face a personal challenge while helping to build a future that aligned with my convictions.

 

It’s fair to say that by 2010, part of the hard work had been done. I was already working in the world of biogas back then, combining waste recovery and energy production. All I had to do was imagine the future and figure out how to play a more active role in sustainable development. The path forward is always right in front of us, wouldn’t you agree?

 

Inventing new solutions

 Encore des humains aux humains!
Fill up at the Eurek’alias station and . . . away you go! Photo Philippe Collin.

 

Knowing that humans would never go back to “wearing animal skins and living in a cave,” we had to find solutions for promoting the advancement of our society and for processing energy in an environmentally sound manner. So, of course, we created a research and development department.

 

We logically turned our focus on the transformation of biogas to biomethane, knowing that this solution would have a direct impact on the fight against global warming. In fact, it would help rapidly generate alternative energy sources for fossil fuel as well as have a local impact, in a short circuit. And that’s what led to the development of VALOPUR® in 2013-2014.

 

But we couldn’t stop there. We knew we could do even better by distributing this biomethane, so we designed scalable BioCNG (compressed natural gas [CNG], also known as natural gas vehicle [NGV] in France) filling stations to fuel fleets of heavy-duty trucks, buses, or light-duty vehicles. A solution we call CN’GREEN®.

 

This adventure allowed me to meet like-minded individuals who were as invested as I was in green transport projects. I would like to share with you two of my success stories in France, which I hope to reproduce in North America.

 

Eurek’alias: This project is at Philippe Collin’s property in the Haute-Marne, a department in the northeast of France. Philippe operates a farm of mixed crops and livestock production. In a pioneering initiative, he built a digester in 2010 to produce electricity. Therefore, it was only natural for us to collaborate with him on developing our AgriGNV® solution—a station that produces compressed natural gas directly from biogas. For over a year, the local children have been transported to and from school on buses fueled with repurposed waste from the methanation of by-products from his farm. Many of his neighbours already use this clean energy fuel, and milk collection will soon adopt this solution as well.

Methamoly: This project is located near Lyon, where Aloïs Klein and his partners commissioned a digester in 2018 to treat livestock waste and biowaste from canteens, other communities, and restaurants in the region. In 2020, we opened a CN’GREEN (CNG) station powered by the biomethane produced from methanation. Today, about a dozen buses, a waste collection truck, local citizens, and craftspeople use biomethane as a transportation fuel thanks to this rural station.

 

To this day

 

Our company now numbers more than two hundred people, and we are still eagerly and enthusiastically working toward this renewed goal.

 

Recently, we continued our efforts by developing a process for liquefying carbon dioxide, the famous CO2. The CO2 formed via methanisation wasn’t being recycled and simply got released into the atmosphere. We wanted to repurpose it. In December 2020, a successful first commissioning effort opened up new opportunities for production and use. This is because at lower volumes, liquefied CO2 is easily transported. It can then be used to benefit the food and industrial sectors.

 

In the short term, our applications will target the industrial sector, beginning with greenhouse growers who will use CO2 within their facilities to improve the growth of their plants. The CO2 is essentially the basic nutrient of all photosynthetic plants, which, through a process called photosynthesis, absorb sunlight, carbon dioxide and water and then release only the oxygen as a waste product. In terms of dry matter, we’re talking about an additional yield of 20%.

 

Next comes transportation. Once cooled, the liquefied CO2 becomes dry ice. Imagine this residue from methanation transformed into a refrigerant and used to safely transport billions of vaccines around the world! Vaccines whose effectiveness is intrinsically linked to the temperature of dry ice, i.e., –78.5 degrees Celsius. As long as such storage conditions are maintained, the ice will retain the CO2. We know that CO2 is a major component of the atmosphere, and, in the right proportions, it is a perfectly natural and useful resource to humans. The challenge facing humanity today is the increasing concentration of CO2 in the air. That is why we are looking for ways to stabilize this gas in the long term.

 

Econological across the board

Des vaches mangeant qui broutent du foin illustrent la recette gagnante pour produire du biomethane.
Cows and crops in Methamoly. Photo Frédéric Berthet, GRDF.

 

We strive to be econological both internally (actions taken within our company) and externally (our impact on the world around us).

 

For 10 years now, Prodeval has been reinvesting nearly all of its profits to develop solutions that will help combat climate change. We, the company and our employees, are driven to ensure the well‑being of our children, future generations, and the planet. We develop solutions that address all biogas-related issues.

 

And we intend to continue finding new solutions, particularly to strengthen the circular economy, and by the same token, the local economy.

 

In Europe, we have expanded our business into Italy, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Spain, and Switzerland. Canada and the United States are also facing many great challenges, including waste treatment and energy production. So it makes complete sense for us to turn our attention to North America, and to focus our efforts on adapting and implementing our solutions. For you. With you.

 

I extend this invitation to you all. Let us unite in our efforts to be econological and to meet the challenges of energy transition.

 

Sébastien Paolozzi

 

A people-to-people business
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