NSW to get green gas trial at Malabar wastewater plant

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has awarded a $5.9 million grant for a project that will see biomethane injected into the gas network for the first time in Australia.

The demonstration-scale project is budgeted at $14 million and will use gas produced by the anaerobic digestion of waste at Sydney Water’s Malabar waste treatment plant. 

This will be injected into gas provider Jemena’s pipelines and anticipated to begin in early 2022. The initial rate of 95 terajoules a year will be eventually be scaled up “over a long term agreement” to 200 terajoules, enough for 13,300 homes, according to the statement.

The project would demonstrate how biomethane could supplement supplies in the natural gas network, said ARENA CEO Darren Miller.

“The injection of biomethane into the natural gas network is currently unproven in Australia due to a range of technical, regulatory and commercial factors,” he added.

“Displacing natural gas with biomethane and renewable hydrogen is recognised as the likely pathway to decarbonise natural gas networks. With a successful demonstration by Jemena, we could see biomethane use increasing across the country.”

The project includes installation of new cleaning and upgrading equipment at Malabar.

Jemena estimates there is about 30,000 terajoules of biogas near pipelines, enough for 1.4 million households.

ARENA recently announced $7.5 million in support for NSW’s first electrolyser, which will create hydrogen for a five-year trial to introduce hydrogen to Jemena’s gas grid.

“Renewable hydrogen and biomethane can be used as complementary gases to displace natural gas and reduce
emissions,” said ARENA.

“The injection of both hydrogen and biomethane allows for further decarbonisation than hydrogen alone due to blending limits of hydrogen in current gas infrastructure.”

Picture: Sydney Water

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