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Australia’s first green gas injection project to power thousands of NSW homes

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Australia’s first biomethane-to-gas project will see thousands of homes and business in Sydney using green gas for heating, cooking, and hot water.

Energy infrastructure company Jemena has signed an agreement with Sydney Water to generate biomethane at the Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in South Sydney.

The zero-carbon emission biomethane gas will be injected into Jemena’s New South Wales (NSW) gas distribution network – the largest in Australia with 1.4 million customers.

The $14 million (€8.6 million) project is jointly funded by Jemena ($8.1 million [€5 million]) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency ($5.9 million [€3.64 million]) in grant funding.

Dr Jennifer Purdie, Jemena’s executive general manager of gas distribution, said as Australia looks to recover from COVID-19, circular economy opportunities have the potential to create jobs, support business growth, and boost energy security, with no impact to the network or customer appliances.

“This agreement will see biomethane into the gas network for the first time in Australia with an initial capacity of 95 Terajoules (TJ) of renewable green gas per year, which is enough to meet the gas demand of approximately 6,300 homes,” said Purdie.

“This has the potential to be scaled up to 200 TJ per year, enough to meet the gas demand of around 13,300 homes.

“We estimate there is at least another 30,000 TJ of biomethane that has the potential to be unlocked around our NSW gas infrastructure. That is 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 100% renewables is through electrification, and this project will introduce the first renewable gas certificates to support our call for a national renewable gas certification scheme.”

The Malabar biomethane project is expected to remove 5,000 tonnes of carbon emissions – equivalent to taking around 4,500 cars off the road – and potentially 11,000 tonnes if scaled up to its full potential, making it a significant contributor to the NSW Government’s Stage 1 Net Zero Plan to cut emissions by 35% by 2030.

The facility is expected to produce the first biomethane for injection into the Jemena gas network in 2022.