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Research looks into storage of CO2 deep underground

06 August, 2008

The release of the Garnaut Review and the Government’s Green Paper have highlighted the need for further research into safe and economical technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage.

CSIRO and the CRC for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) hosted a seminar recently on the latest research and technology underpinning carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS).  The seminar, held at the Australian Resources Research Centre in Perth, was officially opened by the Western Australian Minister for Energy; Resources; Industry and Enterprise, The Hon. Francis Logan.

Experts from Government, industry, universities and research organisations attended the Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage seminar to discuss developments in CCS technologies to lower Australia’s emissions footprint.

“As a major contributor to CO2CRC, CSIRO’s expertise is being used to model potential storage sites as well as to predict the fate of injected carbon dioxide underground and assess the technical and environmental feasibility of the geological carbon dioxide storage,”
Dr Whitford said.

“Major cuts to greenhouse gas emissions could be achieved by the storage of carbon dioxide deep underground whilst supporting Australia’s energy intensive industries and continuing the viability of access to cheaper power from fossil fuels,” Minister Logan said.

CSIRO technologies for carbon capture and storage are delivered through CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship. According to CSIRO Petroleum Resources Deputy Chief Dr David Whitford, gas technologies used for decades in the petroleum industry have the potential to play a key role in CO2 storage.

“As a major contributor to CO2CRC, CSIRO’s expertise is being used to model potential storage sites as well as to predict the fate of injected carbon dioxide underground and assess the technical and environmental feasibility of the geological carbon dioxide storage,” Dr Whitford said.

“Western Australia is likely to lead the application of commercial scale geological carbon dioxide storage over the next decade as a consequence of the growing liquid natural gas (LNG) export industry.”

The seminar showcased the recently launched CO2CRC Otway Project, Australia’s first geological carbon dioxide storage demonstration in Victoria’s Otway Basin, where up to 100,000 tonnes of CO2 is planned to be injected two kilometres underground. The project is one of the largest and most comprehensive geological storage projects in the world, putting Australia at the global forefront of CCS research, development and deployment.

Monitoring and verification of the injected CO2 in the trial aims to demonstrate it can be stored safely in rocks deep in the subsurface and be effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Also in Victoria, CSIRO recently announced the first Australian capture of CO2 from power station flue gases. CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship is at the leading edge of developing post combustion capture technologies that can be fitted to new or existing coal-fired power stations and has projects in Victoria, the NSW Central Coast and Beijing, with a further project to be announced for Queensland.

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