The companies will investigate the potential for Optimal’s subsidiary, Optimal Renewable Gas to build a $55 million, 2.4TJ/day waste to biogas plant adjacent to BOC’s micro-LNG plant in Westbury, Tasmania.
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 bioLNG and distributed to BOC and Elgas customers in agriculture, food processing and other industries.
Related article: ARENA unveils new Bioenergy Roadmap
BioLNG provides an opportunity for industrial and commercial customers to achieve net-zero emissions, while retaining existing plant and equipment. LNG is typically used for thermal processes and off-grid power generation at sites without access to a natural gas pipeline network.
BOC South Pacific director of strategy and clean energy Vesna Olles said the new agreement was part of BOC and Elgas’s commitment to develop low carbon gas alternatives and provide 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 biogases across Australia,” Olles said.
“We are committed to working with government, industry and customers to accelerate the transition to net zero emissions and address the key themes outlined in the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) Bioenergy Roadmap. We believe biogases will be a key part of Australia’s future energy mix particularly for hard-to-abate sectors.
“We look forward to working with Optimal Group to explore the opportunity for transitioning BOC’s Westbury micro-LNG plant to bioLNG and working together nationally to develop further opportunities to produce biogases.”
Optimal Group has a strong track record delivering biogas projects across Australia with a pipeline of additional projects underway in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
Optimal Group CEO Craig Dugan said a bioLNG plant in Tasmania would benefit industrial customers with many relying on natural gas or LNG for 70 per cent of their overall energy requirements.
“We are delighted to have reached agreement on this MoU with BOC and Elgas. Our aim is to build 10 grid-scale biogas projects with a mix of biogas to grid and biogas to LNG over the next decade. The secret to success in this field will be speed and scale. 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.”
Related article: Climate groups slam National Gas Infrastructure Plan
Dr John Hewson, Optimal Group’s Chair said biogas can help governments address Australia’s growing waste disposal problems while producing a valuable renewable fuel.
“Biogas technology is well proven in Europe and North America. Putrescible waste is diverted from landfill, sorted and processed through an Anaerobic Digester to produce biomethane. The by-products include fertiliser, biomethane and bio carbon dioxide.
“The recent release of ARENA’s Bioenergy Roadmap recognises that biogas will play a significant role in decarbonising our gas grids. Optimal and its partners believe these biogases will create economic growth in the construction and operation of the plants. It is a win-win solution.”