PERTH (miningweekly.com) - Mining giant Rio Tinto would devote A$3-million over the next three years to fund Australian research into carbon capture and storage (CCS) at the Cooperative Research Center for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC), which was launched in Victoria on Tuesday.
The miner would spend a further A$3-million over the subsequent three years to support the CO2CRC Otway project, Australia’s first demonstration of geological carbon dioxide (CO2) storage, as a field site for carbon storage research.
Rio Tinto Energy chief executive Doug Ritchie said that the launch of the CO2CRC project was an important milestone for Australian science.
“Rio believes carbon capture and storage will be a significant technology globally, and one with a particular resonance for Australia given the role of coal as our major source of electric power, and our position as a major international supplier of fossil fuels.
“CCS will be the only way of decarbonising significant sectors of the global economy such as power generation and steel and cement manufacture but it needs further development and commercialisation.”
Ritchie noted the CO2CRC project had the potential to be a “game changer” in the CCS market.
CO2CRC CEO Dr Richard Aldous said that the newly launched Peter Cook Centre for CCS Research would integrate CO2CRC's research capabilities with those of the University of Melbourne, forming a hub for research into this technology.
“The centre brings together professors and researchers from a wide variety of disciplines, including the chemical and process engineering associated with capturing carbon from power plants, and the geology and geomechanics required for storage of carbon dioxide in deep rock formations.
“The complementary work at the Otway project is helping develop the tools and methods to ensure carbon is safely stored and monitored. Building this kind of critical mass in an Australian research centre is vital to the national development and deployment of large-scale CCS, which will be a major part of Australia and the world’s drive to manage climate change,” Aldous said.
Incorporating extensive research already under way at the University of Melbourne, the Peter Cook Centre for CCS Research would initially host over 30 scientists working on CCS, including a recently funded Professor of Carbon Storage supported by the state of Victoria.
The centre, named after the eminent geologist and founder of CO2CRC Professor Peter Cook, would link researchers with the CO2CRC Otway project subsurface storage laboratory, which has been safely storing CO2 deep underground since 2008.