Turning Waste into Energy: Malabar Biomethane Project Injects Sewage Gas into NSW Network

Gas produced from sewage is now being injected into the New South Wales gas network for the first time in Australia, thanks to the Malabar Biomethane Demonstration Project.

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Located at the Malabar Wastewater Resource Recovery Plant in Sydney, this project is upgrading biogas from organic waste into renewable biomethane gas.

The project is a partnership between major energy company Jemena, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and Sydney Water. By late June 2023, the facility is expected to ramp up production of biomethane to an initial capacity of 95 terajoules per year.

Photo credit: jemena.com.au

“We know when you use biomethane for cooking and heating it is helping to lower Australia’s overall carbon emissions,” said Jemena’s Managing Director Frank Tudor. He added that biomethane is compatible with existing gas appliances and can be used by manufacturers who rely on gas for heat.

Malabar Biomethane
Photo credit: jemena.com.au

The biomethane is produced in two stages, according to Mr Tudor. First, biogas is generated through anaerobic digestion, where bacteria breaks down organic waste in wastewater. Then contaminants are removed to produce pure biomethane.

Sydney Water’s Managing Director Roch Cheroux said the pilot shows how Sydney Water is adapting to meet changing community needs now and in the future.

“Sydney Water identified an opportunity to maximise the value of waste we produce, and by partnering with Jemena, we are now able to play a significant role in helping thousands of Sydney homes and businesses increase their efficiency and sustainability. For the first time, it will be possible to use a mix of biomethane and natural gas for cooking, heating, and hot water,” Mr Cheroux said.

“This Australian first trial is expected to produce the same amount of gas used by approximately 6,300 homes each year, and this is just the start. If we work together across industries, we can ultimately create a better life for all our customers by delivering reliable and renewable gas and helping reduce households’ carbon footprint,” he added.

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Origin Energy and Jemena have signed an agreement for the biomethane produced at Malabar. Origin will offer business customers the chance to use the renewable gas, making it the first biomethane assessed through Greenpower’s renewable gas pilot accreditation program.

Published 13-July-2023