APA Group (APA) will build a modular renewable methane production demonstration plant at their Wallumbilla Gas hub near Roma in Queensland.
The APA Renewable Methane Demonstration Project recognises that renewable methane may provide a replacement to natural gas for transmission and storage in existing pipelines across Australia.
This demonstration plant at the Wallumbilla Gas hub will provide a proof of concept that hydrogen can be produced from solar energy and water, and then converted to methane using CO2 extracted from the air.
The project partners aim to be the first to market with exportable renewable energy, and thereby accelerate a global trade in renewables.
The project aims to demonstrate the technical and commercial benefits of a 5kW integrated electrolysis and renewable methane production system.
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 system incorporates hydrogen storage, to allow production of renewable methane on a continuous basis. The water is recirculated back to the electrolyser, with water for electrolysis extracted from the atmosphere.
The ‘power to gas’ demonstration plant will produce approximately 340kg of hydrogen per year, converting it into 35 gigajoules of methane that can then be injected into APA’s natural gas pipelines across the East Coast Gas Grid.
The project will also generate cost and technical data to be used to assess the feasibility of a larger, commercial scale renewable methane concept system.