On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $5.9 million in funding to Jemena to trial injecting biomethane into the natural gas network in New South Wales.
In a joint initiative with Sydney Water, the demonstration scale project will upgrade biogas produced from the anaerobic digestion process at Sydney Water’s Malabar wastewater treatment plant to biomethane for injection into the Jemena gas distribution network, as natural gas consists primarily of methane.
The $14 million project involves the installation of gas cleaning and upgrading equipment that will be located at Malabar, with the infrastructure then connected to the Jemena natural gas network. The project will see Sydney Water initially supply 95 terajoules (TJs) per year of zero emission biomethane. Under a long term agreement, this will be scaled up to 200 TJs annually;,equivalent to the gas demand of approximately 13,300 homes.
The project will also investigate renewable gas trading opportunities linking gas users with renewable gas production facilities. Such trading mechanisms would support a highly replicable ‘green gas’ market across other gas networks.
If successful, the project is expected to support wider uptake of biomethane technology by the Australian waste industry with the application expected to have broader application than just the wastewater treatment sector.
According to Jemena, there are more than 30,000 TJs of potential biogas in the vicinity of the NSW gas pipelines, enough to supply 1.4 million households in NSW. The world’s biogas and biomethane resources could cover 20 per cent of global natural gas demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a recent International Energy Agency report.
ARENA has previously funded a Jemena trial that is producing hydrogen using renewable energy for injection into the Sydney gas network in Horsley Park in western Sydney.
Renewable hydrogen and biomethane can be used as complementary gases to displace natural gas and reduce emissions. The injection of both hydrogen and biomethane allows