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BOC and Optimal Group sign MoU to develop Australia’s first bioLNG facility

In Australia, BOC Ltd, a subsidiary of Linde plc, has announced a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement with Optimal Group Australia Pty Ltd to explore the development of Australia’s first bioLNG facility. The companies will investigate the potential for Optimal’s subsidiary, Optimal Renewable Gas to build an AU$55 million, 2.4 TJ/day waste to biogas plant adjacent to BOC’s micro-LNG plant in Westbury, Tasmania.

BOC Ltd, a subsidiary of Linde plc, has announced a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement with Optimal Group Australia Pty Ltd to explore the development of Australia’s first bioLNG facility. The companies will investigate the potential for Optimal’s subsidiary, Optimal Renewable Gas to build an AU$55 million, 2.4 TJ/day waste to biogas plant adjacent to BOC’s micro-LNG plant in Westbury, Tasmania (photo courtesy BOC).

BOC and it’s subsidiary Elgas supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to industrial customers in Tasmania. The biogas- and upgrading plant would provide biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG) to BOC’s micro-LNG plant, which would then be processed into bioLNG and distributed to BOC and Elgas customers in agriculture, food processing, and other industries.

BioLNG provides an opportunity for industrial and commercial customers to achieve net-zero emissions while retaining existing plants and equipment. LNG is typically used for thermal processes and off-grid power generation at sites without access to a natural gas pipeline network.

Vesna Olles, BOC South Pacific Director of Strategy and Clean Energy, said the new agreement was part of BOC and Elgas’s commitment to develop low carbon gas alternatives and provide pathways for customers to decarbonize thermal energy processes.

BOC and Elgas are investing in new technologies, partnerships, and research to progress the development of green hydrogen, green ammonia, and biogases across Australia. We are committed to working with government, industry, and customers to accelerate the transition to net-zero emissions and address the key themes outlined in the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) Bioenergy Roadmap. We believe biogases will be a key part of Australia’s future energy mix, particularly for hard-to-abate sectors. We look forward to working with Optimal Group to explore the opportunity for transitioning BOC’s Westbury micro-LNG plant to bioLNG and working together nationally to develop further opportunities to produce biogases, Vesna Olles said.

Optimal Group has a strong track record delivering biogas projects across Australia with a pipeline of additional projects underway in Victoria (VIC), New South Wales (NSW), and Queensland (QLD).

Craig Dugan, Optimal Group’s CEO said that a bioLNG plant in Tasmania would benefit industrial customers with many relying on natural gas or LNG for 70 percent of their overall energy requirements.

We are delighted to have reached an agreement on this MoU with BOC and Elgas. Our aim is to build 10 grid-scale biogas projects with a mix of biogas to grid and biogas to LNG over the next decade. The secret to success in this field will be speed and scale. Our customers are urgently seeking a solution to their thermal energy requirements and biogas offers them a commercially and technically proven alternative while solving Australia’s need to divert putrescible waste from landfill, Craig Dugan said.

Dr John Hewson, Optimal Group’s Chair said biogas can help governments address Australia’s growing waste disposal problems while producing a valuable renewable fuel.

Biogas technology is well proven in Europe and North America. Putrescible waste is diverted from landfills, sorted, and processed through an anaerobic digester to produce biomethane. The by-products include fertilizer, biomethane, and bio-carbon dioxide. The recent release of ARENA’s Bioenergy Roadmap recognizes that biogas will play a significant role in decarbonizing our gas grids. Optimal and its partners believe these biogases will create economic growth in the construction and operation of the plants. It is a win-win solution, ended Dr John Hewson.

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