CCS activities in Australia are described on the Australia Technology Roadmap of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF). These currently include pilot, demonstration, and commercial scale projects at various stages of implementation; finalization of legislation and regulations for CO2 storage; and various state, federal and international programs to accelerate CCS development and deployment.
The organisations involved in CCS in Australia are many and diverse, spanning government, industry and the research sectors. A lead organisation is the Co-operative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC – see below), which collaborates with leading international and national CCS experts to conduct world-class research into CCS. The Australian government has also played a vital role in this regard with the establishment of the GCCSI promoting and sharing knowledge of CCS related activities worldwide. Australia is also home to two advanced integrated CCS projects: the Callide Oxy-fuel Project in Queensland; and the Gorgon Carbon Dioxide Injection Project in Western Australia (both described below).
ANLEC conducts R&D in support of CCS demo projects and tests concepts for longer term improvement. This includes post-combustion capture, carbon transport and storage and oxy-fuel firing.
In 2006, ACALET member companies established the COAL21 Fund as part of a whole-of-industry funding approach to support research and pre-commercial demonstration of low emission technologies such as CCS in the power generation sector. ACALET manages the $1bn COAL21 fund on behalf of the industry. ACALET, through the COAL21 Fund is the Callide Oxyfuel Project's largest funder (see below).
This demonstration project involves conversion of an existing 30MW unit at Callide A in Queensland. Generation of electricity in oxy-firing mode began in March 2012, and CO2 capture commenced in February 2013. A second stage of the project may involve the injection and storage of captured CO2 in the Surat Basin. The project involves CS Energy, IHI, Schlumberger, Mitsui, J-Power and Xstrata, with extra funding from ACALET and the Australian, Queensland and Japanese Governments. The overall administration of the Joint Venture is the responsibility of Oxy-fuel Technology Pty Ltd (OTPL), which acts as agent for the Joint Venture.
CCSNET is a new network of CCS research facilities aimed at boosting Australian development of commercial-scale carbon capture and storage technology. CCSNET will primarily support Victoria's CarbonNet Project and has three components, the Otway Subsurface Laboratory (OSL), the Gippsland Monitoring Network (GipNet) and the Australian CCS Research Laboratories Network (CCS LabNet), a new imaging and analytical research capability at the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, Monash University and the University of Adelaide.
Chevron is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its Australian operations with a particular focus on identifying and implementing emissions reduction opportunities at the early design stages of capital projects. This includes the underground injection of reservoir CO2 at its Gorgon Project at Barrow Island off the north-west coast of Western Australia. The Gorgon Joint Venturers are actively involved in several RD&D programmes which have contributed to the planning of the reservoir CO2 injection below Barrow Island. These programs include: GEODISC; CO2CRC; CO2 Capture Project; Stanford University Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP); Weyburn Project; GEO-SEQ; and Saline Aquifer CO2 Storage Project (SACS). Chevron Australia continues to support research into CCS technology development within Australia and overseas, including the potential provision of data from the Gorgon Development.
CO2CRC is one of the world's leading collaborative research organisations focused on carbon dioxide capture and geological sequestration. An important part of CO2CRC's work is to contribute to the development and global uptake of CCS technologies by participating in international programs and collaborating with leading researchers and research groups globally. A significant initiative is the Otway Project, Australia's only operational storage demonstration project. The project involves researchers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Korea and the USA. Additional financial support is provided by the Australian Government, the Victorian Government and the US DOE through Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
CSIRO performs research in both CO2 capture and storage. It is also a major partner in the National Geosequestration Laboratory (NGL) which undertakes research into long-term underground storage of carbon dioxide. CSIRO is recognised internationally for its expertise in post-combustion capture (PCC) technology. In collaboration with industry partners, pilot scale capture plants have been constructed and operated in Australia and China. CSIRO is developing new chemical solvents to capture carbon from coal-fired power station flue gases.
Curtin University (CU)
A member of the National Geosequestration Laboratory (see below), CU seems to focus on R&D into storage. Curtin's Fuels and Energy Technology Institute has a new Micro CT Scanner installed to enable advanced research into geosequestration. CU is also a lead partner in Australia-China Joint Research Centre for Energy.
The goal of Research Program 4 is to sustain the world's best practice safety and reliability performance of Australian energy pipelines. Australia's pipeline industry is forecast to expand significantly in the next decade due to increasing domestic energy demand, large new export markets and the likely need for a carbon dioxide network to support planned developments in carbon capture and storage. In aiming to maintain this exceptional safety record in an expanding environment, the Energy Pipelines CRC is taking the unique step of engaging seriously with the social science research on high hazard industries regarding the prevention of accidents.
NGL is a collaboration between CSIRO, the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Curtin University, supported by the Australian Government. The primary research focus of the NGL is to provide government and industry certainty regarding the viability and safety of large-scale geological storage of CO₂ – a process that involves injecting CO₂ deep underground and trapping it in geological structures.
University of Melbourne
Melbourne University hosts the CO2CRC. The CO2CRC laboratories at the University of Melbourne are the centre of some of Australia's leading research into CO2 capture technologies. The Peter Cook Centre for CCS Research was established in 2012 as a collaborative partnership between CO2CRC, Rio Tinto, The University of Melbourne and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries. A strong team of CO2 capture experts are already assembled at the University of Melbourne and the establishment of the Centre will facilitate the development and expansion of CO2 storage research as well as interdisciplinary studies relating to CCS.
The University of Newcastle NSW has established major research institutes and centres to tackle global problems including the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) which collaborates with national and international partners to advance research in in the minimisation of carbon emissions. This work is focused on Newcastle's Research Program on Low Emission Coal, which has an emphasis on GHG abatement, including oxy-fuel firing, post-combustion capture, gasification and chemical looping.
UNSW is one of the CO2CRC's core research participants and hosts a number of research projects related to CCS. Research groups in the School of Petroleum Engineering and the School of Chemical Engineering carry out activities including Economic Modelling, Reservoir Engineering, Geology and Membrane Capture research.
Xstrata Coal has committed over A$200 million to support the R&D of low emission technologies. These include: Xstrata Coal Low Emission Research and Development Fund; Wandoan Carbon Capture Transport and Storage Project and Callide Oxyfuel Demonstration Project in Australia and the FutureGen Carbon Capture Transport and Storage Project in the US. The Carbon Transport and Storage Company's (CTSCo) is a subsidiary of Xstrata Coal, focused on CCS. The CTSCo Project is developing a CO2 storage location in the Surat Basin in Queensland associated with the Wandoan IGCC/CCS project. The project is currently in pre-feasibility stage, with the aim of expanding into exploration and demonstration once viability has been established. CTSCo's lead research organisation is CO2CRC.