26 October 2017

Injecting biomethane into Malaysia’s natural gas grid

Options Winter 2017/18: Biomethane could have a tremendous impact in Malaysia, but its adoption in the country is highly dependent on the presence of suitable transport infrastructure.

© KYTan | Shutterstock

© KYTan | Shutterstock

In an effort to reduce human impact on the environment, nations around the globe are devising plans to curb carbon emissions and use renewable energy. Malaysia, which launched a renewable energy plan in 2010, is planning to facilitate its renewable energy sector by injecting biomethane into its natural gas grid.

One of the most promising options for accomplishing this involves using palm oil mill effluent as the biogas. The great upside is palm oil is extremely abundant in Malaysia—it is the world’s second largest producer of palm oil behind Indonesia. However, there is also still much unknown, as the use of biomethane within the natural gas grid has remained largely unexplored.

In a study published in the journal Energy Procedia, IIASA researcher Piera Patrizio and her coauthors found that using roughly 300 biogas plants, biomethane could be injected into the natural gas grid to supply between 40% to 67% of the residential fossil gas demand (under current and projected carbon price scenarios). This could have a tremendous impact, the study shows, but the adoption of such biofuel in the country is highly dependent on the presence of suitable transport infrastructure.

"The construction of biomethane injection infrastructure, especially the construction of gas pipelines, should be incentivized,” explains Patrizio, a postdoc in the IIASA Ecosystems Services and Management Program. “By fully supporting this plan, the Malaysian government can drastically reduce its carbon emissions and rely on a very sustainable energy source for decades to come.”

Text by Jeremy Summers

Further information

Hoo P, Patrizio P, Leduc S, Hashim H, Kraxner F, Tan ST, & Ho WS (2017). Optimal Biomethane Injection into Natural Gas Grid – Biogas from Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) in Malaysia. Energy Procedia 105: 562-569. [pure.iiasa.ac.at/14646]

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Last edited: 14 November 2017

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