The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will contribute $1.1 million in funding to APA Group’s renewable methane pilot project.
In development with Southern Green Gas, the project aims to demonstrate the technical and commercial benefits of an integrated hydrogen electrolysis and renewable methane production system, with the data generated to be used to assess the feasibility of a larger, commercial scale production.
The demonstration plant will be located at APA’s Wallumbilla Gas Hub near Roma, Queensland, and will produce approximately 620 kg of hydrogen per year, which will be converted into 74 GJ of methane that can be injected into the East Coast Gas Grid.
With a total project cost of $2.2 million, the renewable hydrogen will be produced using an anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyser that uses water from the atmosphere and is powered by solar photovoltaic (PV).
APA CEO and Managing Director Rob Wheals said the funding was a great example of government support for innovation in Australia’s energy industry.
“We know the science of producing methane. This unique project is the first step in testing whether it is possible on an industrial scale to create methane using solar-generated electricity, water and CO2 from the atmosphere,” he said.
“With this project we’re aiming to determine whether this carbon neutral process might be part of a broader green energy solution for the future, and if our pipelines can be used to transport pure renewable energy domestically or for export.”
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said renewable methane was in effect indistinguishable than methane used currently in natural gas pipelines.
“The gas network is expected to play a key role in supporting the decarbonisation of Australia’s energy system,” he said.
“At scale, renewable methane has the potential to be a significant source of Australia’s future natural gas requirements all through the deployment of solar energy and capturing the water from the atmosphere.
“Renewable methane is compatible with Australia’s developing hydrogen sector in that known technologies can convert methane to hydrogen and vice versa.”
For more information visit the APA website.
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