APA Group has been awarded $1.1m of ARENA funding to build a modular renewable methane production demonstration plant in Queensland, Australia.
The ‘power to gas’ demonstration plant, located at APA’s Wallumbilla Gas hub near Roma, will produce approximately 620kg of hydrogen per year, converting it into 74 gigajoules of methane that can then be injected into APA’s natural gas pipelines across the East Coast Gas Grid.
Renewable methane could enable the decarbonisation of Australia’s existing gas infrastructure, including gas transmission and distribution networks and export supply chains.
APA has partnered with Southern Green Gas to develop the $2.2m project to demonstrate the renewable methane process.
The project offers the chance to assess the benefits of using methane to ‘green’ gas networks, compared to other similar ARENA funded projects that aim to use renewable hydrogen directly.
The renewable methane process involves the production of renewable hydrogen from an Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) electrolyser.
The electrolyser uses water extracted from the atmosphere and is powered by solar PV. The hydrogen produced is then converted to methane by reaction with carbon dioxide, which is also extracted directly from the atmosphere.
The demonstration plant will generate cost and technical data to be used to assess the feasibility of a larger, commercial scale, renewable methane plant.
“ARENA’s support means we can work to understand the costs and benefits of generating renewable methane for use in the existing East Coast Gas Grid,” said APA Group CEO and Managing Director Rob Wheals.
“This is a great example of government support for innovation in the Australian energy industry in Australia. APA is excited about its part in this process.”
“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.”
“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.”