WITH six new LPG installations every week across the ACT, Canberra homes are increasingly relying on LPG for in-home cooking, hot water and heating (some 2 million nationally). Now new research demonstrates eight distinct, commercially viable pathways for Australia’s LPG sector to achieve not only net zero emissions, but actual zero, by 2045.
“LPG supply in the ACT will begin the transition to 100% renewable and net zero emission from 2025,” Gas Energy Australia CEO Brett Heffernan explained. “It starts with three biodiesel/Sustainable Aviation Fuel plants slated for opening from 2025 in WA and Queensland.
“These projects alone will generate 3.5PJ (or almost 135 million litres) of 100% renewable LPG as a by-product, thereby replacing 11% of current LPG demand in Australia to begin the transition to replacing all conventional LPG by 2045.
“The huge benefit of renewable LPG is it’s a simple ‘drop in’ replacement for conventional LPG. That means no extra costs to taxpayers, homeowners, businesses or community groups using LPG. Existing cylinders, pipes and appliances require no changes.
“With the ACT Government moving to ban natural gas connections in greenfield sites, we are very appreciative of the common sense approach that sees ACT homes, as well as cafes, bars, restaurants and anyone else, able to engage a licensed fitter to instal gas cylinders for their needs.
“The Barr Government’s confirmation that homeowners, businesses, schools and community groups in the new suburbs who prefer the immediacy, effectiveness and reliability of gas heating, cooking and hot water can continue to do so using cylinders connected to the premises is a sensible, practical response that ensures renewable LPG can be part of the capital’s energy future.
“ACT Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Shane Rattenbury has indicated that he is open to the opportunities renewable LPG presents. He deserves credit for that.
“It’s a game-changer that negates the exorbitant costs of switching to increasingly unreliable, expensive and less effective electrical appliances. With the Australian Energy Market Operator belling the cat on looming electricity shortfalls and potential major blackouts, renewable LPG should be seen as complementing government policy with zero emitting energy that relieves pressure on the electricity grid, saves on switching costs and is 100% reliable.
“If you’ve got LPG, you’re golden. LPG will move to net zero over the same timeframe as electricity, but go further to deliver actual zero emissions as sectors we rely on, like trucking, get their emissions under control.
“It’s already happening across Europe where 100% renewable LPG, derived from Hydrotreated Vegetable Oils (HVO), has been used industrially since 2019 and has been commercially available in cylinders for families and hospitality venues for cooking, hot water and space heating, since mid-2020.
“Renewable LPG has emerged as an important energy source in the industrial sector. For example, La-Roche-Posay in France became the first industrial site to use bio-LPG in 2018. Since 2019, the facility emits no greenhouse gases, with the switch to renewable LPG representing the last step towards carbon neutrality.
“In Australia, HVO is just the beginning. The technologies modelled by Frontier Economics’ in ‘Pathway to Zero Emissions for LPG’ (released today), demonstrate our transition timeline to renewable LPG (rLPG) and renewable dimethyl ether (rDME) to deliver reliable, affordable zero emitting gas energy.”
As detailed in the Frontier Economics Report, the transition timeline for Australia includes:
- Biodiesel and Sustainable Aviation Fuel via HVO as the first-generation transition, with three plants planned in Gladstone (Qld) and Kwinana (WA), starting from 2025.
- BioLPG from gasification with Fischer-Tropsch by 2030.
- rDME from biomass 2030.
- rDME from green H2 by 2035.
- rLPG from power-to-liquids by 2035.
- Conventional LPG phased-out entirely by 2045.
- By 2050 only zero/net zero sources of LPG will be available.
“These findings and the pathways identified show that not all gases are the same,” Mr Heffernan said. “RLPG and rDME have clear and commercially viable paths now to actual zero emissions, without the cost and supply pressures to taxpayers, homeowners, businesses or community groups of switching to electrification.
“Australia’s LPG sector will do all of this without the huge costs to families and businesses of changing to electrical appliances or retrofitting their premises from Phase 1 to Phase 3 wiring to cope with the new loads. It’s also a saving to taxpayers. We have made it clear to governments that we are not seeking any funds to aid LPG’s transition… no handouts, subsidies, project funding or the like. The industry will simply get on with the new technologies.
“All we need is a level playing field. That is, recognition and inclusion of rLPG and rDME technologies in the array of government considerations, programs and mechanisms on the same footing as Hydrogen and Biomethane. This will enable Australian homeowners and businesses to choose the path to zero that best suits them.
“The closed-loop processes involved in taking CO2 from the atmosphere, either through biowastes or via synthetic gas replacements, to make rLPG and rDME means there is no need to find or buy carbon offsets. In short, there is no downside for governments or the public in seizing on LPG’s transition and factoring it into federal and state policy decisions, nor in families and businesses continuing the use the gas they know and love.
“With millions of Australian homes and businesses able to reliably and affordably use 100% renewable and zero emitting LPG, avoid the exorbitant costs of switching to electricity, save the public purse from unnecessary costs and take pressure off an increasingly overstretched electricity grid, sticking with LPG is the best possible option.
“In addition to in-home and business use, rLPG means the great Aussie BBQ is safe. Along with commercial uses across hospitality, hospitals, manufacturing, agriculture and industrial uses, LPG for leisure uses for 6 million BBQs, as well as campervans, caravans, camping equipment, boating, outdoor heating and even hot air ballooning can continue without disruption.
“In all, with more than 20 million LPG cylinders in circulation across Australia, servicing each of these sectors every day, all can rest secure in the knowledge their existing gas needs will easily be met with 100% rLPG as a ‘drop in’ replacement.”
The full Frontier Economics Report ‘Pathway to Zero Emissions for LPG’, commissioned by GEA and the Australian Gas Industry Trust, is available online at: https://www.gasenergyaus.au/read/2008/pathway-zero-emission-for-lpg.html.