Gas from Sydney wastewater helps power the city

photo by Joe Sugarman on Unsplash

In a first for Australia, a trial has started at Sydney Water’s Malabar Wastewater Resource Recovery Plant, which will see renewable biomethane from wastewater support the energy demands of up to 13,000 homes.

The US$11 million project is a joint partnership between Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Government of New South Wales, Sydney Water and energy infrastructure company, Jemena. Minister for Lands & Water, Kevin Anderson said the move marks a significant milestone in wastewater reuse that will deliver reliable and cleaner gas to Sydney residents and help reduce the carbon footprint of households.

"Innovation-based partnerships will be crucial to unlocking the potential of wastewater to help power Greater Sydney."

Paul Plowman, Sydney Water

The Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility will create approximately 95,000 gigajoules of biomethane, from organic material in wastewater, to supply gas to around 6,300 homes by the end of the year, with the capacity to double production by 2030.

“This five year pilot will put gas directly into the supply network and will also help industries across NSW meet their net-zero emissions targets, with the facility able to turn waste material into a new clean energy source,” said Anderson.

Sydney Water’s general manager of asset lifecycle Paul Plowman said this first of its kind biomethane project, is expected to remove 5,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year - the equivalent of taking almost 2,000 cars off the road.

“As Greater Sydney grows and the volume through our network increases, innovation-based partnerships will be crucial to unlocking the potential of wastewater to help power Greater Sydney”, said Plowman.

The project will also involve a Renewable Gas Certification Pilot, the aim of which is to spark a new energy market for clean gas in Australia. It is due to be completed by the end of this year and will see the first renewable gas products supplied to the network soon after.