Malabar Biomethane Project

Australia’s first biomethane-to-gas project will see thousands of Sydney homes and businesses using renewable green gas for cooking, heating and hot water.

Jemena has signed an agreement with Sydney Water to generate biomethane at the Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant, in South Sydney. The zero-carbon emission, high-quality biomethane gas will be injected into Jemena’s New South Wales gas distribution network – the largest in Australia with 1.4 million customers.

The $14 million project is jointly funded by Jemena ($8.1 million) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) who will provide up to $5.9 million in grant funding.

The Malabar biomethane project is expected to remove 5,000 tonnes of carbon emissions -  the equivalent of around 4,500 cars off the road – and potentially 11,000 tonnes if scaled up to its full potential, making it a significant contributor to the NSW Government’s Stage 1, Net Zero Plan, to cut emissions by 35 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

The facility is expected to produce the first biomethane for injection into the Jemena Gas Network in 2022.

What is biomethane?

Bioenergy is derived from plant and animal by-products, agriculture, farming, forestry and human wastes. When converted into biomethane, it is a reliable and responsive carbon neutral energy.

Bioenergy and waste-to-energy projects are widespread in the US and Europe, with Bioenergy Australia estimating, in 2016, that the total contribution of the US biofuels industry was $459 billion, employing 4.65 million direct and indirect workers. Globally, more than a million Terajoules of biogas were produced in 2014, about 1.5 per cent of the international renewable energy supply1. In Australia, it’s estimated the biofuels industry could provide 250,000 jobs, mostly in regional areas2, and has the potential to avoid up to 9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions1

What is the Malabar Biomethane Project?

Jemena in partnership with Sydney Water (SW) will construct the Malabar Biomethane Injection Project (MBIP) an Australian first, which involves the upgrading of raw biogas at SW’s Malabar Waste Water Treatment Plant into “Biomethane” to be exported into Jemena’s NSW gas distribution network. The project will involve the use of a biogas upgrader facility which will process raw biogas from the Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant at the WWTP by removing non-methane gases, until the resultant gas stream meets the Australian Standard (A4564:2020) gas specification in preparation for injection into the existing gas network.

The Malabar Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP), located in the Malabar Headland National Park, is one of Sydney Water’s multiple Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants in NSW. The bulk of the current AD Biogas output is used for electrical power generation and water heating. The balance of biogas that cannot be used via site processes is combusted through waste gas burners.

The NSW gas network is a regulated network owned and operated by Jemena and delivers approximately 89PJ of natural gas to residential, commercial and industrial customers. The NSW Government has established a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050. To meet this target whilst maintaining supply of low cost heating to customers, new sources of Renewable Gas (biomethane and hydrogen) will be required and the cost of production will need to be driven down by demonstrating applicable technology and developing the scale of production.

Further, Jemena, as the owner of the NSW gas network, seeks to understand and develop technologies that allow for a transition to a low or zero carbon gas network, whilst delivering a competitive and sustainable consumer product. Jemena believes that multiple technologies will be required, including hydrogen and biomethane.

RS9021_Malabar-STP-024.jpg

Where is the Project located?

The Project will be located within the existing SW Malabar Waste Water Treatment Plant, located at 1 Fishermans Road, Malabar.  This site represents an ideal location to accommodate an upgrader facility. 

What is the timeline for this Project ?

The project will commence construction in Q3 2021 and be completed in Q1 2022.

Who is involved in the Project?

This project is a collaboration between Jemena, Sydney Water and ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency).

Jemena is an Australian infrastructure company that builds, owns and maintains a combination of major gas and electricity assets across the Eastern States of Australia. Jemena supplies millions of households and businesses with essential services every day. Jemena owns and manages gas transmission and distribution pipelines, which enable the transfer of natural gas direction to over one million residents and businesses.  Jemena is currently investing in Renewable Gas projects to provide affordable decarbonization options to its customers.

Sydney Water’s role and responsibility is broad. From the health of the city and its people, to managing the environment and the health of our waterways to help ensure the overall livability of our great city. Sydney Water’s value reaches across water supply, pipes and wastewater services. Sydney Water are the owners and operators of the Malabar Waste Water Treatment plant.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s purpose is to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy through innovation that benefits Australian consumers and businesses. ARENA invest in projects to accelerate Australia’s shift to affordable, reliable renewable energy.  ARENA are providing funding for the Malabar Biomethane project. Visit the website at www.arena.gov.au to find out more. 

More information

The first community forum is scheduled for Friday, 12 March 2021 from 9.00 am to 11.00 am at Cromwell Park South. You’re welcome to drop in, meet the Project team and ask questions about the Project.

We do propose to hold further Forums, so please stay tuned for more information as we progress this innovative project. 

If you would like to contact us directly please email MalabarProject@jemena.com.au or phone 1800-571-972.