The project, which is being investigated by the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC), would involve the re-injection of up to 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide over 40 years from Latrobe Valley – one of Australia’s major industrial hubs.
Carbon dioxide geosequestration involves the capture, transport, injection and storage of the gas into deep geological formations.
Equating to about 50 million tonnes of CO2 reinjection per year, the project would virtually eliminate all emissions from the Latrobe Valley coal-fired power stations, which is currently about 60 million tonnes per year or over half of the Victorian total.
CO2CRC capture program manager, Barry Hooper, who yesterday presented these new figures to the APPEA National Conference on the Gold Coast, said this would be the largest geosequestration project in the world.
Hooper added that the centre also investigated the cost to reinject smaller CO2 volume amounts over shorter timeframes. It calculated costs of $250 million for a 2 million tonne per year, five-year project, and $1.25 billion for 15 tonnes per year over 40 years.
“But we need to think longer-term to make the investment worthwhile,” Hooper said.
“While the capital costs for this project are quite significant, we are looking at the virtual elimination of Australia’s largest source of emissions.”
Hooper said the $A4 billion project could take between 10 and 15 years to get off the ground.
This business model follows extensive geological investigation of potential Gippsland Basin geosequestration sites by a team of CO2CRC researchers.
Team leader, Catherine Gibson-Poole, who also presented her findings at the conference, said the research primarily focused on the depleting Esso-owned Kingfisher Oil Field.
“We started with Kingfisher as it is one of the basin’s oldest oil fields and is expected to be depleted between 2015-2025 – making it a potentially suitable candidate for carbon storage,” she said.
“The findings identified several features to the offshore Gippsland Basin that make it particularly favourable for geosequestration and able to hold very large volumes of CO2.”
However, both Poole-Gibson and Hooper recognised the $4 billion investment would be difficult to achieve without industry drivers, such as a carbon trading tax.
International Energy Agency director Claude Mandil told an APPEA media conference on Monday that he was calling on the Federal Government to introduce a trading scheme similar to that which operates in Europe.
When asked how important it was to introduce a similar scheme in Australia, he replied: “The shorter the better.”
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