Australia’s first biomethane-to-gas network project demonstrates how thousands of Sydney homes and businesses can use renewable gas, sourced from biowaste and blended with natural gas, for cooking, heating and hot water.
Jemena and Sydney Water are working together to generate biomethane at the Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant in South-East Sydney. The high-quality biomethane gas is being injected into Jemena’s New South Wales natural gas distribution network – the largest in Australia with almost 1.5 million customers.
The multi-million dollar project is jointly funded by Jemena and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) who will provide up to $5.9 million in grant funding. The Malabar facility already creates biogas in its anaerobic digester, with the new biomethane upgrader fully operational since the first half of 2023.
Initially, the Malabar facility will produce renewable biomethane (by volume) equivalent to the gas usage of approx. 6,300 homes per year with the potential to scale up to around 200TJs each year – equivalent to the natural gas usage of approx. 13,300 NSW homes per year, if put to use in the residential network
Biomethane is indistinguishable to regular natural gas and can be injected into the existing natural gas network and used in the same way. Using biomethane can help to avoid or displace fossil-fuel gas that would otherwise be needed to supply NSW gas customers. Biomethane is a real game changer for many businesses and heavy industry, particularly in hard to abate sectors, as it provides a viable means to decarbonise operations.
The Malabar Biomethane facility will also be one of the first participants in GreenPower’s renewable gas certification pilot, and Origin Energy have signed an agreement for biomethane supply until the end of 2024.
The Malabar project demonstrates the potential of a waste-to-energy industry which can lower carbon emissions while creating jobs and many other circular economy benefits.