Optimal Group, BOC/Elgas to develop Australia’s first bio-LNG plant

Optimal Group and BOC/Elgas, a subsidiary of Linde, have agreed to jointly explore the development of Australia’s first bio-LNG facility.

Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU), the companies are seeking to develop the facility at the BOC-ELGAS Westbury LNG plant in Tasmania.

The agreement will allow the companies to investigate the potential of Optimal’s subsidiary, Optimal Renewable Gas, to build a $55 million (€34.5 million), 2.4 TJ per day waste-to-biogas plant adjacent to the existing Westbury LNG plant.

BOC and its subsidiary, Elgas, supply LNG to industrial customers in Tasmania. The biogas plant would provide biomethane to BOC’s micro-LNG plant, which would then be processed into bio-LNG and distributed to customers in agriculture, food processing and other industries.

“We are delighted to have reached an agreement on this MoU with Elgas and BOC,” said Optimal’s CEO, Craig Dugan.

“Bio-LNG provides an immediate path for existing Elgas and BOC customers in Tasmania to reach net zero. With 100% of Tasmania’s grid power being renewable, customers can now also convert their gas supply to 100% renewable. This provides a clear demonstration of the potential for biogas to bring forward companies’ ambitions in their transition to net zero.”

Optimal Renewable Gas has a pipeline of projects in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, and is seeking to develop and add to its biogas portfolio. Dugan said the company aims to have 10 grid-scale biogas projects, with a mix of biogas-to-grid and biogas-to-LNG within the next decade.

“The secret to success in this field will be through speed and scale,” said Dugan. “Our customers are urgently seeking a solution to their thermal energy requirements and biogas offers them a commercially and technically proven alternative while solving Australia’s need to divert putrescible waste from landfill.”

Vesna Olles, BOC’s South Pacific director of strategy and clean energy, said the agreement was part of BOC’s commitment to developing low carbon gas alternatives and providing pathways for customers to decarbonise thermal energy processes.

“BOC and Elgas are investing in new technologies, partnerships and research to progress the development of green hydrogen, green ammonia and biogas across Australia,” said Olles.

“We look forward to working with Optimal Group to explore the opportunity for transitioning BOC’s Westbury Micro-LNG plant to bio-LNG and working together nationally to develop further opportunities to produce biogas.”

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