23/03/2017 - 11:58

Long-term potential for biogas, hydrogen as domgas

23/03/2017 - 11:58

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Long-term potential for biogas, hydrogen as domgas
Natural gas is used more in Western Australia than other states.

Biogas and hydrogen could be injected into distribution networks to partially replace natural gas for use by industry and households within decades, according to a report released today by a group of industry bodies including Energy Networks Australia.

The report, Gas Vision 2050, said biogas could already be processed from sources such as agriculture, landfill, wastewater and forestry waste.

One example is in Jandakot, where Richgro Garden Products runs a bioenergy plant project, although that gas is used to produce electricity.

The report said it would be easy to instead inject that gas directly into the domestic distribution network.

“Production of biomethane, which is the same as natural gas, is a well-established process using currently available commercial technologies,” the report said.

“It can be mixed with natural gas in transmission and distribution networks with no modifications of user appliances or industrial processes required.

“The Clean Energy Council estimates that Australia’s bioenergy has the potential to power 10.2 million homes by 2050, although that is mostly focused on using biomass for power generation instead of the production of biogas.

“Regardless, the potential for biogas is significant.”

A further possibility was to use hydrogen in the network.

That would be something of a back to the future move, as town gas, produced from coal and containing around 50 per cent hydrogen, was previously used in most cities in Australia, the report said.

Conversion to natural gas only took place in the 1960s and 1970s on the east coast.

Germany injects hydrogen into its network currently, and it accounts for about 10 per cent of the gas distributed

Hydrogen could either be produced from natural gas centrally, using carbon capture and storage to remove emissions, or could be produced through electrolysis using excess power from renewable energy, the report said.

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