RP1.2-06 Assessing the barriers to investability for bio-methane grid injection projects

Executive Summary

Despite the theoretical opportunity bio-methane production and grid injection projects present for decarbonising the gas network, there are still no active projects in Australia. Further, organic feedstock suitable for bio-methane production is instead being used for other purposes, including bioenergy products (e.g. SAF, cogeneration, etc). This is in stark contrast to our European and US counterparts where, for example, there are over 1,000 biomethane plants in Europe, and as part of the REPowerEU biomethane targets they are investing to provide ~1200PJ of biomethane by 2030. The lack of active projects in Australia is primarily due to a lack of certainty around the investability of bio-methane grid injection projects.

A series of knowledge gaps has been identified by industry members of the FFCRC (which is also reflected in the bioenergy roadmap for Australia), that need to be understood to ensure  projects will be commercially successful, and are thereby able to realise the opportunities to decarbonise energy systems using bio-methane grid injection.

This project will investigate key knowledge gaps around the investability of bio-methane projects through the following three stages. The first stage is to build the required understanding and quantitative assessment to address the current knowledge gaps surrounding the investability of biomethane projects. The second stage is to use these findings and the tools developed in Project RP1.2-04 to identify the most investable sites in each state, detailing the first ~10-20PJ of available bio-methane. The third stage is the utilise this research by incorporating it into the existing tools.

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Commencement / End Date September 2023 to December 2024
Outcomes / Impact

This project will provide industry participants with information and tools/software that provide the information needed to support investment decisions that enable bio-methane grid injection projects to proceed. The research findings and tools can also be used for educational purposes and for engagement with stakeholders when developing projects or discussing necessary policy development to support the industry.

Specific benefits for industry include the following:

  • Added realism to the tools from RP1.2-04;
  • Feedstock suppliers and bio-methane plant operators will be able to use the tools to understand the opportunity for bio-methane production, and bring this to pipeline operators;
  • Gas network operators will be able to use these tools to understand potential infrastructure changes and associated costs (including GHG emission impacts) that would enable biomethane projects to connect; and
  • Identifying the most investable locations will be of benefit to investment bodies.
Partners University of Adelaide, AGIG, Jemena, ENA, APA Group, Worley, Energy Safe Victoria
Research Contact

Dr Stephen McGrail