|PICA launch in Latrobe Valley|
|BCIA was part of a milestone event for the Latrobe Valley on 18 March with the launch of a new carbon capture pilot plant at AGL Loy Yang, attended by over 60 stakeholders. BCIA has partnered with CSIRO, AGL and Japan’s IHI on the PICA post-combustion capture (PCC) project, a two-year research program to improve efficiency of carbon dioxide (CO₂) capture. The program will evaluate innovative processes using gases drawn from AGL’s Loy Yang brown coal-fired power station.|
|The name PICA is an acronym formed from PCC and the project partners IHI, CSIRO and AGL. In 2014 BCIA contributed a $650,000 research and development grant towards the $5.3M PICA project, led by CSIRO, the lead developer of advanced PCC technologies in Australia. The PICA project builds on CSIRO's existing PCC program at Loy Yang, which began operation in 2008.|
The PICA plant (pictured right) stands 21 metres high and was built in Japan by IHI and transported to AGL Loy Yang, where it is capable of operating 24/7, capturing 150 to 200 tonnes of CO₂ per year.
CO₂ is already being captured at large scale around the world, however cost and efficiency challenges remain an obstacle to wide-scale commercial implementation. In order to overcome these challenges, the PICA project is targeting a 40 per cent reduction in energy use compared with current capture processes.
BCIA Chief Executive Officer Dr Phil Gurney said that to meet Australia's commitment to limit dangerous climate change, emissions of CO₂ from the use of coal must be reduced.
"BCIA has invested heavily in research and development to improve the efficiency of brown coal power generation and reduce the costs of carbon capture technologies," Dr Gurney said.
|Pictured from left, Mr Yahagi (IHI), Dr Phil Gurney (BCIA), Jeni Coutts (AGL), Dr Peter Mayfield (CSIRO), local MP Harriet Shing and Gerry Morvell (BCIA) in front of the PICA post-combustion project plant at AGL Loy Yang.|
|"The PICA project is a major step forward and will make a significant contribution to the broader roll-out of CCS for power generation and the manufacturing sector in the longer term."|
It is expected that the PICA plant testing and evaluation campaigns will be completed by the end of 2017. Successful completion of the project is expected to enable scale-up of the next technology phase; most likely a demonstration project at a scale of between 100 and 1000kton CO₂ per year.