Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray has announced a new network of research facilities to boost Australian development of commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) during a visit to the CO2CRC Otway Project.
Lead agency CO2CRC is eligible for $51.6 million from the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future package, administered by the Education Investment Fund (EIF), to support CCSNET, a network of field facilities, onshore and offshore monitoring systems and world class laboratories.
“CCSNET will significantly enhance Australia’s CCS research capability,” said Dr Richard Aldous, Chief Executive of the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC). The network will help to answer many of the outstanding research questions for large-scale CCS projects.”
The CCSNET network is:
· The Otway Subsurface Laboratory; a major subsurface laboratory based at the CO2CRC Otway Project in Victoria, where CO2 has been stored safely underground since 2008;
· GipNet; a CSIRO-driven submarine environment monitoring program in Victoria’s offshore Gippsland Basin;
· CCS Labnet; new imaging and analytical research capability at The Australian National University, The University of Melbourne, Monash University and The University of Adelaide.
The announcement is a great birthday present for CO2CRC, which celebrated ten years of great science on Monday. CCSNET will also attract significant matching funds from research institutions, as well as industry and state government co-investors.
CCSNET will primarily support Victoria’s CarbonNet Project, which is funded under the $1.18 billion CCS Flagships program, but the facilities will also be available for other Australian projects and potentially international collaborators.
“CCSNET will provide a unique basis for quality national and international CCS research, education and training,” said Dr Aldous. “It reaffirms Australia’s strong global role in taking this technology forward.”
CCS has the potential to cut tens of millions of tonnes per year of Australian greenhouse gas emissions from large industrial sources such as power stations. Treasury figures estimate fossil fuel–fired CCS plants could provide between 26 and 32 percent of total electricity generation by 2050, while safely and permanently storing up to 90 percent of their emissions.