Energy infrastructure company Jemena has sealed a deal that will see its NSW gas network getting a taste of biomethane.

Biomethane is a type of biogas which is renewable and non-emitting source of gas. Biomethane is extractable from several sources including plant and animal by-products, farming, forestry and human waste.

Jemena signed an agreement with Sydney Water to generate biomethane at the Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant in southern Sydney.

Jemena will inject biomethane into its New South Wales gas network, which has 1.4 million customers.

ARENA (The Australian Renewable Energy Agency) will jointly fund the $14 million project with Jemena.


A fledgling industry

Biomethane remains a small portion of the global renewable energy puzzle.

But it is quickly spreading across the globe in conjunction with the bioenergy and waste to energy sectors generally expanding.

Biogas is only 1.5 per cent of the global renewable energy supply. But on an Australia-wide basis, it is estimated that the biofuels industry more broadly could provide 250,000 jobs and avoid 9 million tonnes in carbon emissions.


Sufficient to power 6,300 homes

The fledgling nature of the Australia’s biogas industry is not enough to deter Jemena’s ambitions.

Jemena predicts the project, which will begin production in 2022, will cut NSW’s carbon emissions by 5,000 tonnes. This is equivalent to taking 4,500 cars from the roads.

General manager of gas distribution, Dr Jennifer Purdie, says this agreement will see 95 terajoules of green gas annually. This is  sufficient to meet the demands of 6,300 homes.

The project could be scaled up to 200 terajoules, enough to power 13,300 homes, but she thinks this could just be the start.

“We estimate there’s at least another 30,000 terajoules of biomethane that has the potential to be unlocked around our NSW gas infrastructure,” Dr Purdie said.

“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 per cent 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.”

This announcement comes only a few months after Jemena signed an MoU to produce and deliver hydrogen gas to Hyundai’s Sydney headquarters.