First Large-Scale Biomethane Plant Investment by CMA CGM and ENGIE


  • Projected to cost approximately $150 million, they plan to make an investment decision in late 2022.
  • Salamander plans to come on stream gradually in 2026.
  • At the time, they said, an initial project to produce liquefied biomethane (BioLNG) for shipping had already been launched at the Port of Marseille.

The amount of alternative fuels that will be needed to support the switch to green operations and the requirement to create the infrastructure is one of the difficulties that the shipping industry constantly discusses as reported by Maritime Executive.

New opportunities 

CMA CGM in partnership with ENGIE is continuing to seek opportunities for the production of biofuels.

Expanding their partnership, the shipping company said it plans to invest in the first industrial-scale facility for the production of second-generation biomethane fuel.

Projected to cost approximately $150 million, they plan to make an investment decision in late 2022.

Salamander plans to come on stream gradually in 2026.

Production would be scaled up to reach 11,000 tons of second-generation biomethane annually.

The biomethane would be produced in a process fueled by dry biomass from local wood-waste sources, along with solid recovered fuel.

Funding request 

“To reach our target of net-zero carbon by 2050, the CMA CGM Group is seeking to form solid industrial partnerships, led by this initiative with ENGIE,” said Christine Cabau Woehrel, Executive Vice President of Assets and Operations at CMA CGM. 

“Salamander is the first industrial ramp-up to emerge from the partnership, an advanced pilot helping to develop the renewable gas sector, in keeping with the goals of energy independence and the energy transition set forth by the European Commission in the RepowerEU plan.”

“The CMA CGM Group highlights that it already has a fleet of 30 dual-fuel “e-methane ready” ships in operation and they expect 2026 to have 77 ships ready to operate on the alternative fuel.

The dual-fuel engine technology developed by CMA CGM, which currently runs on LNG, is capable of using bio LNG, as well as synthetic methane.

Majority-owned by ENGIE and the CMA CGM Group, the site being considered is in Le Havre, backed by the support of the Havre Seine Métropole urban community via the investment program “Le Havre, Ville portuaire intelligente.”

A funding request has been submitted to the European Commission’s Innovation Fund.

Increase awareness 

Additionally, CMA CGM and ENGIE have been collaborating within the Coalition for the Energy of the Future for a number of months. The businesses declared their alliance in November 2021, focused on the creation and supply of synthetic methane and BioLNG for the maritime sector. They claimed that at the time, the Port of Marseille had already started a preliminary initiative to create liquefied biomethane (BioLNG) for shipping. While stating that they would also make efforts to increase awareness of the advantages of BioLNG and synthetic methane for the decarbonization of the shipping industry, CMA CGM and Engie have been analysing the future potential for the development of a synthetic methane production and distribution industry.

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Source: Maritime Executive