National Carbon Capture and Storage Week

Australia’s National Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Week was kicked off last week with an open day at the CO2CRC Otway project in Victoria and the second National CCS Conference held in Perth, Western Australia.

The conference is the major event of National CCS Week; a program of events around Australia with a focus on carbon capture and storage (CCS). About 150 delegates registered for the biennial conference which was held on 21 to 23 October.

The conference and other National CCS Week activities are organised by the Australian Government Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, the Victorian Government Department of Primary Industries (DPI), BCIA, ANLEC R&D, the Global CCS Institute, CSIRO, CO2CRC, the Australian Coal Association and the Minerals Council of Australia.

Conference delegates and other stakeholders had a chance to visit some of Australia's key CCS projects in person, including significant low emission projects in New South Wales and CSIRO/CO2CRC carbon dioxide capture projects in Victoria's Latrobe Valley.

BCIA CEO, Dr Phil Gurney chaired a plenary session titled ‘CCS Research and Demonstration’ and BCIA Research Fellow and Professor Low Emissions Technology, Monash University, Professor Klaus Hein, addressed the conference on ‘Brown coal research and development’.

ABOVE: Dr Gurney chairs the 'CCS Research & Development' plenary session at the National CCS Conference in Perth.


BCIA along with DPI, CO2CRC and CSIRO sponsored an open seminar and site visit organised by the Australian Institute of Energy in the Latrobe Valley as part of the National CCS Week program.

Interested community members travelled from Melbourne for this event which began with a seminar on the latest developments in CCS.

Dr Abdul Qader of CO2CRC and Dr Erik Meuleman of CSIRO presented on their organisations' carbon capture pilot projects. The projects, supported by BCIA, are being used to capture the carbon dioxide produced by coal-fired power stations. This technology has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 to 90 per cent.

Dr Qader is the Capture Facilities Manager of CO2CRC, who is managing capture projects based at IPR-GDF SUEZ’s Hazelwood Power Station.

Following the success of the H3 Capture Project testing three different technologies, the new one is going to evaluate the performance of the CO2CRC’s UNO MK3 solvent technologies with brown coal flue gases and two different absorber designs.

Dr Meuleman, Research Group Leader at CSIRO, explained that CSIRO have four post-combustion capture (PCC) pilot plant projects underway in Australia (QLD, NSW and VIC) and in China.

CSIRO’s PCC pilot plant located at AGL’s Loy Yang power station is designed to assist research in comparative performance of different CO2 absorbing liquids. Currently, the unique composition of Australian flue gases is evaluated through collaboration with a European consortium.

CarbonNet Environmental and Regulatory Affairs Manager, Ms Mel Barker, gave an update on the CCS Flagship project, managed by DPI.

The CarbonNet project is investigating the potential for large scale carbon capture and storage in the Gippsland region.

CarbonNet aims to capture and store one to five million tonnes per annum by 2020; with the potential to rapidly scale up capacity.

The seminar included a presentation from BCIA CEO, Dr Gurney, on 'CCS in the Community'. Dr Gurney gave an overview of BCIA and the Company's research activities; linking BCIA as an important participant in the future of CCS.

“Our mission is to fund R&D and skills activities that will lead to a brighter future for brown coal,” said Dr Gurney.

“Through our R&D programs, BCIA funds a range of capture projects targeting the use of brown coal.

“While increases in efficiency will assist in reducing emissions, capture and storage of CO2 will prevent the emissions in the first place. Research and development will play a key role in driving down the costs of construction and operation of future CCS plants,” he said.

Mr Richard Elkington, representing Clean Coal Victoria, addressed the seminar regarding the Victorian Brown Coal Roadmap and the role of CCS in ensuring a future for brown coal for both power generation and products in a carbon constrained world.

“Technology will continue to evolve over the next four decades and there will be a lot of challenges to overcome for a low carbon future.

“Both coal drying/dewatering and CCS will be a key enabler for all pathways to coal utilisation,” Mr Elkington said.

Following the seminar, participants visited the AGL Loy Yang power station and International Power-GDF SUEZ Hazelwood power stations to see the CO2 capture demonstration projects.

ABOVE left: CO2CRC's H3 Capture pilot plant at Hazelwood
ABOVE right: CSIRO's PCC pilot plant at Loy Yang

The largest CCS project in the world is currently under construction in Western Australia at the Gorgon LNG project. Large scale demonstrations of CCS are also being planned through the Australian Government funded CCS Flagship projects in Western Australia and Victoria.

These projects, together with the research and development equipment installed at numerous power plants around the country, are preparing Australia for future large scale deployment of CCS. This will be essential if mitigating climate change by reducing emissions from power and manufacturing is to progress in the next 10 to 15 years.

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