APA Renewable Methane Demonstration Project

March 5th, 2022

APA Renewable Methane Demonstration Project

This demonstration plant near Roma would provide proof of concept that (renewable) hydrogen produced through electrolysis can be converted into ‘renewable methane’ using carbon dioxide extracted from the atmosphere.

Main proponents:

APT Facility Management Pty Ltd (part of the APA Group)

Main end-use classification:

Hydrogen in gas networks – via conversion to methane

Status:

Under construction – operations are anticipated late 2022

Estimated cost:

AUD$2.26 million

Other involvement:

 

Production details:

Hydrogen production – 340 kilograms (kg) per annum

Location:

Queensland, Australia

Announced funding:

AUD$1.1 million – Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

Project description

The purpose of this demonstration plant is to provide proof of concept that (renewable) hydrogen produced through electrolysis can be converted into ‘renewable methane’ using carbon dioxide extracted from the atmosphere.

APA Group is a large Australian energy infrastructure business, owning and operating the largest interconnected gas transmission network across Australia. APA has contracted Southern Green Gas to design, build and test the facilities for the demonstration project.

A modular renewable methane production demonstration plant is being designed and constructed at APA Group’s Wallumbilla gas hub near Roma in south-west Queensland (about 475 kilometres west of Brisbane).

The project aims to demonstrate the technical and commercial benefits of a 5 kilowatt (kW) integrated electrolysis and renewable methane production system. The system incorporates hydrogen storage which would allow production of renewable methane on a continual basis. Power for the plant will be provided by a new build on-site solar system comprising 10kW of solar PV panels.

The production of renewable methane will involve the following steps:

  • the production of renewable hydrogen via an Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) electrolyser, using water extracted from the atmosphere and powered by solar PV.
  • the renewable hydrogen produced would then be converted to methane by reaction with carbon dioxide, which is also extracted from the atmosphere.
  • water produced in the methanation reaction would be recycled for use in the electrolyser.
  • the produced methane would be indistinguishable from the methane that currently fills natural gas pipelines.

The carbon dioxide extracted from the atmosphere offsets the carbon dioxide emitted when the methane is used, leading to carbon-neutral energy generation.

The demonstration plant would produce at a rate of around 340kg of hydrogen per annum, converting it to around 35 gigajoules of renewable methane for use in APA’s existing east coast gas grid.

The cost and technical information derived from the demonstration project would be used to assess the feasibility of a commercial-scale renewable methane concept system.

Milestones

May 2020: ARENA announces AUD$1.1 million in funding to the APA Group to build a modular renewable methane production demonstration plant at their Wallumbilla Gas hub.

 

Updated: March 2022