Jemena inks MoU with renewable gas producer Optimal

Close-up shot of plant at the Malabar Biomethane Demonstration Project (optimal)
Jemena's Malabar Biomethane Demonstration Project

Three new biomethane production facilities are a step closer to being developed after major energy infrastructure company Jemena and renewable gas producer Optimal signed a three year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Through the MoU, Optimal Renewable Gas (ORG) will identify suitable sites in regional New South Wales in proximity to agricultural and other waste sources (which are a key feedstock for the production of biomethane) that could produce up to 1.5PJ of biomethane, in preparation for building the facilities.

Related article: Biomethane enters gas grid in Australian first

In addition, Jemena will undertake feasibility and preparatory work so biomethane can be injected into the NSW gas distribution network.

Biomethane is a renewable gas created by processing biogas which is generated from decomposing organic waste. It is completely interchangeable with natural gas and is, therefore, compatible with all existing gas network infrastructure, gas appliances used in homes and businesses today, and in industrial manufacturing processes.

Internationally, biomethane production is also demonstrating the benefits of a circular economy—where organic waste is diverted from landfill, reducing fugitive emissions and providing renewable energy which can be used to complement other renewable energy such as wind and solar, and displace natural gas sourced from fossil fuel.

Jemena acting managing director David Gillespie said, “We’re pleased to bring to the table our long-standing energy infrastructure expertise, together with the experience we’ve developed through the Australian-first Malabar Biomethane Injection Plant which—since June this year—has been producing biomethane from organic waste in wastewater and injecting it into the New South Wales gas distribution network.

“It’s our view that biomethane offers a here-and-now way to help Australia reduce emissions.

“Transitioning the energy system so it meets Australia’s net-zero emission targets is a massive undertaking, and we need to be looking at all available options.

Related article: How biomethane can help turn gas into a renewable energy source

“Continuing to use Australia’s extensive, existing gas networks to transport increasing volumes of renewable gases like biomethane can complement renewable electricity, both in firming the network, and in continuing to power industries and heat homes and hot water systems.”

The potential for biomethane and other bioenergy sources to become part of Australia’s future energy system has been outlined in the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) 2021 Bioenergy Roadmap. It projects that by the start of the next decade, Australia’s bioenergy sector could contribute around $10 billion in extra GDP per annum, create over 26,000 new jobs, reduce Australia’s emissions by about 9%, divert an extra 6% of waste from landfill, and enhance fuel security.

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