THE CO2 Cooperative Research Centre (CO2CRC) has welcomed the Federal Government’s embrace of science and technology as the pathway to accelerating low emissions technologies and its identification of carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) as a priority low emissions technology.
CO2CRC chief executive, David Byers said the Technology Investment Roadmap provided a "powerful endorsement of the potential for CCUS to play a vital role in meeting the dual challenge of supplying more energy but with fewer emissions".
Mr Byers said, “As International Energy Agency executive director, Dr Fatih Birol declared earlier this year: ‘When we consider the scale of the energy and climate challenge, the critical importance of carbon capture is inescapable.’
“In that context, Australia is well-placed to be a world leader in CCUS. Recent project activity demonstrates to the nation that CCUS is not a dream for the future but a reality today,” Mr Byers said.
“The world’s largest commercial-scale carbon dioxide injection project commenced in August 2019 at Gorgon LNG on Barrow Island, off the northwest coast of WA. Gorgon is now progressively ramping up to full capacity of up to 4Mtpa of safe and permanent storage of CO2.
“Santos is at an advanced stage of examining a large-scale commercial carbon capture and storage (CCS) project to be located in the Cooper Basin with a scalable potential to store up to 20 Mtpa of CO2 per year.
“The launch of the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain pilot project in Victoria has been another leap forward for CCUS in Australia. The CarbonNet Project is investigating the feasibility for a commercial-scale, multi-user CCUS network in Gippsland that will inject CO2 -- including that ultimately produced from commercial-scale hydrogen production -- into deep underground, offshore storage sites in Bass Strait. In January, CarbonNet reached an exciting phase with the conclusion of a successful offshore drilling appraisal well at the Pelican site.
“Finally, COAL21 is examining the development of a commercial scale CCUS project in Queensland’s Surat Basin with a final investment decision to begin construction of a $150 million carbon capture plant at the Millmerran Power Station scheduled for later this year.
“Together, this project activity demonstrates once again that CCUS is not experimental – it is a proven technology, currently being deployed, storing millions of tons of CO2. On a global scale, more than 200 million tonnes of CO2 have been captured and injected deep underground since the 1970s. One project - the Sleipner CCS operation in Norway has separated and injected about one million tonnes of CO2 per year since 1996," Mr Byers said.
“Today, 19 large scale CCS facilities are operating globally and another four are in construction.
The challenge is to continue to improve the cost-effectiveness of CCUS and develop the right policy settings for further investment.
“The value of CCUS is its versatility as a technology. Its applications extend to industrial processes such as cement, iron and steel. Emissions in these sectors are hard to abate due to inherent process emissions and high temperature heat requirements.
"Earlier this month, Equinor, Shell and Total signed off on the Northern Lights Project - a plan to build a carbon capture network that will capture 5 million tonnes of CO2 per year from various industrial sites including a major Norwegian cement production plant and a large waste to energy plant in Oslo. CO2 emissions will be transported via ship and pipeline to an offshore storage reservoir in the Northern North Sea. Final go ahead for the project is subject to Norwegian Government investment and regulatory approvals,” he said.
Mr Byers also highlighted the $194 billion export value of Australia’s coal, LNG and iron-ore resources in 2018-19.
“It is in Australia’s national interest to take advantage of all our natural energy resource endowments to enhance economic prosperity. CCUS has an important and unique role to play in reducing emissions from industrial processes vital to Australia’s economy like gas processing, steel and cement production
“CCUS can play a vital role in helping Australia achieve continued economic prosperity while meeting international emissions reductions commitments. The reality is that, over the long-term, there is unlikely to be a cost-effective emissions reduction response without CCUS.
"As the Technology Investment Roadmap points out, Australia is also well-placed to leverage its CCUS scientific and industry knowledge and experience to help neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region meet their low emissions targets.” he said.