AUSTRALIA

CSIRO to cut CO2 emissions with new technology

CSIRO says it is working on a technological initiative that could slash 85% of carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal and gas-fired power stations when coupled with carbon storage.

CSIRO to cut CO2 emissions with new technology

Post Combustion Capture (PCC) works by capturing greenhouse emissions after the fuel is burnt in a power station.

It can be retrofitted to existing power plants, integrated into new power stations and used in conjunction with renewable systems, such as solar power to minimise efficiency losses from power stations, according to CSIRO.

The organisation is currently constructing a pilot PCC plant in Newcastle, which will be coupled with solar power.

Carbon dioxide geosequestration storage involves capturing the gas and storing it in deep geological formations, such as depleted oil and gas fields.

Earlier this week, the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) announced Australia’s first project of this nature would begin early this year, with injection of CO2 emissions into Victoria's Otway Basin.

CSIRO chief of energy technology, Dr David Brockway, said technologies such as PCC, changes in energy consumption patterns and other incentives were needed to reduce Australia’s greenhouse emissions.

“There is no doubt that fossil fuels will remain the principal energy source for the foreseeable future, both in Australia and worldwide,” Brockway said.

“In the longer term, however, the ultimate objective is a renewable energy economy, though the transition to this point is still likely to be many decades away.”

Fossil fuel combustion for stationary energy production is responsible for 49% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, while agriculture accounts for 18% and transport for 15%.

Meanwhile, the organisation is also constructing the multi-million dollar National Solar Energy Centre (NSEC) at the CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle. It said research in renewable energies included solar-fossil hybrids and developing hydrogen technologies.

CSIRO says further research is also underway across areas including: low-emissions technologies for fossil fuel use and efficient coal production; renewable energy and energy storage systems; potential use of hydrogen in the energy cycle; distributed energy generation; energy management and reducing the environmental consequences of energy use.

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