Much of the gas industry is looking towards hydrogen as the solution to de-carbonising heating demand in Australia and across the world. This was given further support at the end of September when the COAG panel shared their ambitions for hydrogen.
The hydrogen gas solution acts like traditional gas in many ways, however there are potential flaws to trying to introduce this into existing infrastructure at any high blend percentages. The leakage rate is higher, embrittlement is a big problem on traditional pipes and to replace pipelines to more suitable plastic pipelines would be a huge undertaking both logistically and financially.
So, are there any other alternatives which could be considered but are currently being overlooked?
One such source is Biogas, sometimes seen to be unattractive but it could be very effective. This is gas which comes from anaerobic (Oxygen free) digestion of organic matter. This could be food scraps, animal waste, energy crops or sludge from waste water treatment plants.
The gas is captured in the anaerobic digester, cleaned and blended before being pressured to be injected straight onto the grid to go into electricity production or into homes. It can also go into filling stations for transport and can be significantly cheaper than diesel as well as providing low NOx and up to 70% less carbon dioxide emissions. The remaining output (digestate) is used as chemical free fertiliser.
It is estimated that Australia has a biogas potential of 103TWh or 371PJ based on an average biogas units output and this could alone have a 9million T/CO2e benefit. 1
It seems a simple solution but ultimately the projects are slow to get going in Australia due to the infancy of the industry, coupled with a lack of appetite to encourage investment from government policies. This is further exacerbated by the lack of renewable gas targets and little to no encouragement for landfills to maximise the use of their landfill gas.
However, with a push into hydrogen and the potential for a gas equivalent to the Renewable Energy Target, could biogas be about to have its day in the sun?
If you would like to know more, please contact Edge Energy Services on 07 3905 9220 or 1800 334 336.
1 Deloitte, «Decarbonising Australia’s gas distribution networks,» 2017.