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Malabar Biomethane Project Receives GreenPower Certification

Mar 20, 2024

Australia’s first biomethane-to-gas-network injection plant has been formally certified by GreenPower – a government managed renewable energy certification program – in an important next step for Australia’s nascent renewable gas sector.  

GreenPower Renewable Gas Certification means renewable gas certificates will be issued for gas produced at the Malabar Biomethane Injection Plant (MBIP) certifying that gas produced at the plant is low-emission renewable gas.  

Certification comes after Jemena and Origin Energy signed an agreement for biomethane supply in March 2023 which could see Origin purchase up to 110 TJ of biomethane per year from the MBIP.  

The MBIP is a partnership between Sydney Water and leading energy infrastructure company Jemena. The project has also received funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).  

Jemena’s Managing Director, David Gillespie, said that by using a blend of renewable gases such as hydrogen and biomethane, to complement natural gas, Australia can lower its carbon footprint, retain consumer choice, give energy certainty to hard-to-electrify sectors, and navigate the energy transition through a low-cost pathway.  

“This is an exciting next step for Australia’s renewable gas industry and is the first time biomethane has been formally certified as meeting the environmental and social standards set by GreenPower,” said Mr Gillespie.  

“Our industrial and manufacturing customers are telling us they need gas for high heat and as a feedstock. At the same time we know they are also looking at ways to lower their carbon footprint. Certification is the next step in establishing a domestic renewable gas market which will help these customers on their decarbonisation journey. 

“This is particularly important for industrial customers who have been mandated to reduce emissions under the Federal Safeguard Mechanism.” 

Sydney Water’s CEO Roch Cheroux said: “By partnering with Jemena, we have been able to take wastewater and convert it into gas, which has not only bolstered energy supplies but successfully demonstrated we have the capability to deliver an internationally proven technology right here in Sydney.”  

“This is a significant achievement as we are now contributing to the circular economy. 

“This project demonstrates the importance of water infrastructure to assist in the delivery of new energy technologies. Our work with Jemena has ensured we can provide the essential foundation so customers can access renewable gas and hydrogen.” 

The Chair of the GreenPower Steering Group, Tim Stock said: “GreenPower certified renewable gas production, like the biomethane being produced at Jemena’s Malabar project, is very important in reducing Australia’s carbon emissions as they produce low emissions when compared to fossil natural gas.  

“These renewable energies are sources of cleaner, sustainable and increasingly competitive energy which can be used by industries in the same way as fossil natural gas but with substantially lower carbon emissions.” 

“This is vital in helping Australia and its jurisdictions reach their net zero emissions targets and provide a sustainable means to power our economy along with environmental benefits, energy security, and economic opportunities while using novel and advanced technologies, which can also provide valuable circular economy benefits.  

“The GreenPower Renewable Gas Certification is unlocking a nation-wide renewable gas market to support low-emission gas development and provides our commercial and industrial sectors with a cleaner energy choice for their gas use.” 

Biomethane is produced by upgrading biogas which is created from bacteria breaking down waste, such as organic matter in wastewater, to produce gas. Biomethane from the MBIP produces over 90% lower emissions than fossil natural gas and is completely compatible with current gas appliances and infrastructure. 

Today’s announcement comes after Jemena and renewable gas producer Optimal Renewable Gas revealed details of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which will see Optimal Renewable Gas identify suitable sites in regional New South Wales that could produce up to 1.5 petajoules of biomethane. As part of the MoU Jemena will undertake feasibility and preparatory work so biomethane can be injected into the New South Wales gas distribution network.   

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