An open letter to the Commonwealth government signed on behalf of thousands of organisations and businesses is advocating for biomethane injection into gas distribution networks – recognising the role biogas can play to solve energy market decarbonisation challenges while providing the lowest cost transition to a decarbonised energy system.
This is the first coming together of the diverse cross sector to back the call on the government to recognise the potential of biogas, and in particular biomethane as a gas with a chemical composition very similar to natural gas, as submissions for the National Bioenergy Roadmap close tomorrow.
CEO Bioenergy Australia, Shahana McKenzie, said the letter represents thousands of organisations and millions of employees across business, industry and utilities sectors who are willing to work together on innovative cross sector solutions in the market. “This support, combined with the right government vision and investment, means Australia could unlock the significant economic and varied social benefits of bioenergy – particularly in regional areas,” said McKenzie.
This includes waste water treatment plants, agricultural and food processing facilities, meat and livestock processing facilities where the methane is captured and used rather than emitted into the atmosphere.
A landmark report commissioned by Bioenergy Australia last year on the availability of biogas in Australia identified 371PJ of available energy, which is enough to decarbonise industrial, commercial and residential gas users currently supplied by distributed gas networks across Australia.
The report provides nine recommendations to overcome the challenges facing the emerging industry, which include the need for more favourable policy conditions to enable the growth of a mature and sustainable biogas industry in Australia.
- Provide a complimentary reliable and flexible supply to gas power plants, supporting increasing variable renewable electricity – with immediate opportunities to scale up
- Be delivered through connections to existing equipment in heavy industry
- Use existing domestic networks and appliances to enable residential gas customers to decarbonise energy use in the home
- BioCNG delivered through the gas network can start reducing emissions from heavy vehicles
McKenzie said, “We are confident with the right policy settings, Australia can attract the necessary investment to deliver a cost-effective, zero-emissions energy system that will create new jobs and new industries.”
“To achieve this, we are calling on governments and relevant agencies to work with us to further identify and raise awareness of the bioenergy resources that are available for development at a Federal, State/Territory and regional level and unlock seed funding from government and private investment to showcase, activate and de-risk the biomethane market across Australia.”
“Creating this policy environment will enable gas users to quickly and cost-effectively achieve net zero emissions now, while also scaling to play a significant role in decarbonising the gas supply system over the next decade and beyond,” concluded McKenzie.
Signatories calling for Australian biomethane market development
1. Ai Group
3. AusNet Services
5. Australian Gas Infrastructure Group
6. Australian Pipeline and Gas Association
7. Business Council of Australia
8. Bioenergy Australia
9. Energy Networks Australia
10. Energy Users Association of Australia
11. Gas Energy Australia
12. Gippsland Water
13. Hitachi Zosen INNOVA
14. Hunter Water
15. Infrastructure Partnerships Australia
16. Interface Carpets
18. Renewable Gas Alliance
19. Sydney Water
21. Water Services Association of Australia
22. Yarra Valley Water
About Bioenergy Australia
Bioenergy Australia is committed to accelerating Australia’s bioeconomy. Our mission is to foster the bioenergy sector to generate jobs, secure investment, maximise the value of local resources, minimise waste and environmental impact, and develop and promote national bioenergy expertise into international markets. Australia lags behind the world when it comes to bioenergy, and we aim to change that. We empower, share knowledge, and connect Australian bioenergy producers, investors, researchers, and users to make Australia’s bioeconomy world-class. https://www.bioenergyaustralia.org.au
Biogas is produced from the anaerobic (oxygen free) digestion of organic matter. It can be made from a large variety of organic resources, including industrial waste, agricultural waste, energy crops, sludge from wastewater treatment and biowaste (co-digestion or mono-digestion of food waste and other types of biowaste).
In addition to energy production, anaerobic digestion also produces digestate – the material remaining after anaerobic digestion of biodegradable feedstocks. Digestate is a nutrient-rich material that can be used as a fertiliser and applied on agricultural land instead of chemical fertilisers.
Biogas is a source of energy that can be converted into heat or electricity. Biogas can also be upgraded into biomethane: a gas with a chemical composition very similar to natural gas. Biomethane can be injected into the gas grid and serve several uses for consumers such as heating, industrial purposes or fuel for gas vehicles.
Bioenergy is generated from the conversion of solid and liquid biomass products for use as dispatchable electricity, heat, gas, liquid fuels and bio-based products.
The benefits of bioenergy are multi-faceted and cover the following four key areas:
● Enhanced energy security through domestic production of biofuels and diversification of electricity and heat fuel sources
● Greater utilisation of waste streams through higher recycling and reuse of waste from agricultural, industrial, commercial and domestic activities
● Regional employment, investment and economic development as the feedstock used for bioenergy often stems from rural and agricultural activities, through new or existing manufacturing processes
● Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as sustainably sourced biomass is carbon neutral