Green gas project to power 6000+ NSW homes
A biomethane-to-gas project will see thousands of Sydney homes and businesses using renewable green gas for cooking, heating and hot water. Commencement of the project follows an agreement between energy infrastructure company Jemena and Sydney Water that will generate biomethane at the Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant in South Sydney. The zero carbon emission high-quality biomethane gas will be injected into Jemena’s NSW gas distribution network, which services 1.4 million customers.
The $14 million project is jointly funded by Jemena ($8.1 million) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which provided $5.9 million in grant funding.
Jemena Gas Distribution Executive General Manager Dr Jennifer Purdie said as Australia looks to recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19, circular economy opportunities have the potential to create jobs, support business growth and enhance energy security, with no impact to the network or customer appliances.
“This agreement will see biomethane injected into the gas network for the first time in Australia, with an initial capacity of 95 terajoules of renewable green gas per year, which is enough to meet the gas demand of approximately 6300 homes. This has the potential to be scaled up to 200 terajoules per year, enough to meet the gas demand of around 13,300 homes.
“We estimate there’s at least another 30,000 terajoules of biomethane that has the potential to be unlocked around our NSW gas infrastructure. That’s enough to supply all our current residential customers with carbon-neutral, green gas.
“Our customers have told us they want to purchase verified and accredited zero-emission green gas as is currently the case for renewable electricity.
“We are challenging the notion that the only way to be 100% renewable is through electrification, and this project will introduce the first renewable gas certificates to support our call for a national renewable gas certification scheme,” Dr Purdie said.
Bioenergy is derived from plant and animal by-products, as well as agriculture, farming, forestry and human wastes. When converted into biomethane, it is a reliable and responsive carbon-neutral energy. Bioenergy and waste-to-energy projects are widespread in the US and Europe, with Bioenergy Australia estimating (in 2016) that the total contribution of the US biofuels industry was $459 billion, employing 4.65 million direct and indirect workers.
Globally, more than a million terajoules of biogas were produced in 2014, about 1.5% of the international renewable energy supply.1 In Australia, it’s estimated the biofuels industry could provide 250,000 jobs, mostly in regional areas,2 and has the potential to avoid up to nine million tonnes of CO2 emissions.1
The Malabar biomethane project is expected to remove 5000 tonnes of carbon emissions — the equivalent of taking about 4500 cars off the road — and potentially 11,000 tonnes if scaled up to its full potential.
The facility is expected to produce the first biomethane for injection into the Jemena Gas Network in 2022.
Biogas opportunities for Australia. March 2019
Biofuels and Transport: An Australian Opportunity, a special report from the CEFC and ARENA
Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/malp