Biogas: often overlooked in Australia
According to the Clean Energy Council, there are currently 29 biogas projects – more than 100 kilowatts equivalent (kWe) – in agriculture/food processing and wastewater treatment (WWT), providing installed capacity of approximately 49 megawatts equivalent (MWe). At least two of the biogas plants in WWT in Australia use co-substrate digestion, using a mixture of wastes, to optimise plant health, produce higher gas yields and earn additional revenues from gate fees.
Biogas technology has been proven in both an international and national context, however, up until now, plants have not been built in Australia with a focus on achieving an internationally competitive levelised-cost-of-energy.
Politically, waste-to-energy has been a tad ‘on the nose’ in Australia with a couple of high-profile failures in biomass combustion/pyrolysis, which seems to have tainted the whole market.
As a renewable energy source, biogas is also often overlooked, with analysis tending to lump biogas in the broader category of biomass, or subsume it within data about the extraction of landfill biogas. Occasionally, biogas from sewage gas will be identified separately, but rarely is there an in-depth analysis of the full spectrum of the biogas opportunity in Australia. To make the biogas market opportunity story even more difficult, a large percentage of reports into the waste industry in Australia are considered unreliable.