Why your carbon-free Doritos should be made with swamp gas

Published Thu 25 May 2023

Australian Financial Review

By Jacob Greber

Some of the nation’s biggest emitters in hard-to-abate sectors are pushing federal and state governments to certify the carbon-neutral qualities of mixing gas captured from rotting organic waste and rubbish dumps into tradition pipelines and energy systems.

Biomethane, a refined gas that could generate Australian carbon credit units when used in place of natural gas, is being considered by companies including PepsiCo – maker of Doritos – and at least one gas user potentially subject to Labor’s reformed safeguard mechanism, which is seeking to contract 4 petajoules of the sustainable alternative.

John Hewson, the former Liberal leader and chair of the Renewable Gas Alliance, urged Energy and Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen to seize the benefits of biomethane and work with state and territory counterparts to certify its use as an alternative to gas.

“Renewable gas has a tremendous future by taking waste and garbage from around the country and turning it into a resource and contributing to the whole process of decarbonisation,” Dr Hewson said.

Although it is widely used in Germany and the US, where the industry is expanding rapidly, Australia has almost no industrial-scale production of biomethane, which has the advantage over alternative fuels such as hydrogen of being easily blended into existing gas systems.