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The challenge

Making carbon capture viable in Australia

Finding ways to address the challenges of achieving inexpensive and efficient CO2 capture in the Australian context.

Chemical solvent used to capture carbon from coal-fired power station flue gases.

Our response

Improving efficiency of CCS

We are working to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of carbon capture and storage (CCS) so it is a viable option for Australia's energy future.

Our carbon capture research is focused on deploying large-scale demonstration projects that enable substantial reductions in emissions and provide a pathway for industry to adopt the technologies at full scale.

We have broad capabilities in the science that underpins CCS technology and a strong track record of working with government, industry and research organisations on demonstration projects.

Post combustion capture

Our research is addressing the challenges of achieving inexpensive and efficient COcapture in the Australian context. We are involved in the development, commissioning and operation of PCC pilot plants in Australia and overseas. This program is supported by extensive laboratory research aimed at developing more cost-effective capture technologies that are applicable in Australia.

What we're doing:

  • We are working to make PCC cheaper and more efficient so it is commercially viable
  • We have constructed and demonstrated PCC pilot plants in Australia and China
  • Laboratory research has identified improved efficiencies from testing more than 100 novel solvents, ionic liquids, solid absorbents and enzyme technologies.

[CSIRO logo with text: My science. My story. OCE Science Leaders]

[Image shows a roller door opening and Dr Paul Feron walking through, into a factory and speaking with various employees]

[Image changes to Dr Paul Feron, OCE Science Leader, 2007-2011, Energy Flagship]

Dr Paul Feron: I work on a concept called CCS - CO2 capture and storage. This is particularly important for Australia because we generate 75% of our electricity using coal and that generates a lot of CO2 emissions, and we have concerns about CO2 emissions in terms of global warming and climate change. We're interested in developing a technology which can use the coal but not have the CO2 emissions.

[Image changes to show images of the factory]

The rig that you see behind me is actually doing that, it's capturing CO2 from gases and concentrating that to pure CO2. And that is then transported to a location where it's stored underground.

[Image changes back to Dr Feron]

The science that I'm involved in is really about capturing CO2 and looking at various methods and trying to reduce the cost of the capture process because the cost of the capture process is a very important obstacle in terms of further development and deployment of this technology.

[Image changes to show Dr Feron talking with a colleauge in a laboratory]

During my OCE term I focused on integrating a number of different sciences into a process which will reduce capture costs. So my role has been really to integrate these various disciplines into a better CO2 capture process. I was able to publish a lot more about the work that I've been doing and my colleagues were doing as well, so it's really raised my science profile globally.

[Image changes to show laboratory equipment with pipes and gauges then back to Dr Feron]

But in addition to that the OCE Science Leadership provided me with an opportunity to engage with Chinese power companies and also Chinese technology vendors.

[Image changes again to Dr Feron and the laboratory employee and back to Dr Feron]

And this is quite important in terms of further deployment of this particular technology because CO2 emissions are growing hardest in countries like China and India. The developing countries who are developing their economies on the basis of coal and that's been a particular highlight of my work thus far.

[CSIRO logo appears with text: Big ideas start here]

We're researching methods to reduce the cost of carbon capture.

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