New report backs carbon capture and storage in Australia

The Minerals Council of Australia has released an independent report which has revealed a comprehensive plan for carbon capture and storage (CCS) deployment in Australia.

The report ‘A Roadmap for Carbon Capture and Storage’ was led by Professor Chris Greig of the University of Queensland and involved a steering committee comprising the Commonwealth Government, NSW Government, CSIRO, CO2CRC Limited, ACALET (COAL21 Fund) and ANLEC R&D.

“Australia’s continued economic prosperity and competitiveness depends on access to all forms of energy and strong industries,” Professor Greig said.

“We need to deal with the mitigation of greenhouse emissions from these activities and prudent early planning relating to CCS deployment is a priority.”

The report stated CCS is required in the power sector (coal and gas generation), but will also play a vital role in decarbonising energy intensive industries, which unavoidably involve the continued use of fossil fuels.

It also noted that CCS is not an experimental technology, and is being deployed or available now at commercial scale to provide a competitive, carbon reduction option for reliable 24/7 power from fossil fuels.

“The transition to a low carbon energy system is a significant and delicate challenge that will require the full range of options to achieve a sustainable future energy mix that also meets the standards of reliability, stability and affordability required,” the CSIRO’s Dr Peter Mayfield said.

“We see CCS as one of a number of key technologies required to meet that challenge during transition and into the future“.

COrCRC Limited CEO Tania Constable said a technology neutral policy approach is necessary to achieve reliable, available 24/7, clean energy in Australia.

“We would like to see ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s mandate opened up to include a range of carbon reduction technologies including carbon capture and storage,” she said.

The report was released on the same day the Minerals Council of Australia launched a new coal advertising campaign – Coal: Making the future possible – which highlights the important role coal will play in the world’s future energy mix while reducing emissions.

Executive director Greg Evans said coal production is a significant Australian industry.

“It is our second largest export valued at $40 billion in 2016, a major employer in NSW, Queensland and Victoria and provides 71 per cent of the nation’s grid electricity,” he said.

“The new campaign highlights the role that high efficiency, low emission (HELE) coal-fired generation plants provide in reducing emissions.”

The TV advertisement features an Australian mining engineer who travels to Japan to look at where Australia’s high-quality coal is used at an ultra-supercritical coal-fired power station.

“Asia has embraced clean efficient, HELE coal-fired generation with some 725 units in place while a further 1142 installations are under construction or planned, and this represents a new build which is 32 times our national current coal capacity,” Mr Evans said.

“HELE coal-fired generation is significant as it emits up to 40 per cent less emissions than the oldest technology in place.

“Furthermore, the most modern plants are using accompanying technology to reduce all other emissions including particulates to levels that comply with the most stringent urban air quality requirements.”