The CO2CRC Otway Project
Carbon capture and storage (also known as geosequestration)
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the injection and permanent storage of carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas, deep underground in geological formations.
The International Energy Agency estimates that one-sixth of emissions reduction will come through CCS by 2050.
CCS is particularly relevant to Victoria given high emissions from the use of brown coal for power generation in the Latrobe Valley (90% of Victoria's total emissions) and the existence of potential storage sites for CO2 in Gippsland and the Bass Strait.
CO2CRC Limited is one of the world's leading research organisations focused on CCS. It is a significant designer, initiator, manager and funder of carbon capture and storage research. CO2CRC engages Australian and global CCS researchers and receives major support from industry, universities and government, along with international collaborators.
CO2CRC is the only company in Australia to have demonstrated CCS end-to-end, at their site in south west Victoria, and their research has been ongoing for over a decade.
During the first two stages of the project, over 65,000 tonnes of naturally occurring carbon dioxide-rich gas was produced and compressed, transported two kilometres by pipeline and injected into a depleted gas reservoir. An extensive long-term monitoring program provides researchers with comprehensive information on CO2 storage while assuring the community of the safety of the project.
Recently researchers injected 15,000 tonnes of CO2 into another type of geological formation known as a saline formation. This has improved understanding of the ways CO2 is trapped in the rocks and helped commercial carbon capture and storage projects estimate the storage capacity and security of these common geological formations.
In plans for the third stage of the project, researchers are looking at new ways of monitoring the CO2, as it moves and settles underground. The aim is to assess each method for safety, reliability, efficiency and cost effectiveness. Subsurface monitoring solutions are being tested as an alternative to other more expensive methods.
Reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere is a major priority around the world, and CO2CRC and its Otway project in Victoria is globally recognised as being a leader in carbon capture and storage research.