Australia invests A$50m in carbon capture projects

Article by Amanda Jasi

THE Australian Government has opened the A$50m (US$38.5m) Carbon Capture, Use, and Storage Development Fund, helping to support technology which the nation prioritises under a plan to create jobs, cut energy costs, and reduce emissions.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are amongst five priority areas under the Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap: First Low Emissions Technology Statement 2020. The strategy is aimed at accelerating development and commercialisation of low emissions technologies.

The Fund will focus on helping carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) projects progress towards commercial operations. According to Angus Taylor, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, support will target a wide array of CCUS project opportunities, including carbon recycling, negative emissions/direct air capture, and CCS. It will also aim to support development of processes that can transform carbon dioxide (CO2) into economically viable products, including synthetic fuels, chemicals, minerals, and other CO2 recycling and use activities.

Funding is expected to reduce technical and commercial barriers to deploying these technologies, including lowering the cost of technology adoption, and identifying potential project sites. Taylor stated that the funding is also expected to encourage private sector investment, thereby supporting jobs and economic recovery.

The Carbon Capture, Use, and Storage Development Fund is open to applications from pilot projects and pre-emissions projects aimed at reducing emissions. Projects that are successful in gaining grants will be awarded a share of the total A$50m funding of between A$500,000 and A$25m. 

Applications will close on 29 March 2021.

The funding was announced as part of Australia’s 2020-21 Budget, as part of a A$1.9bn energy technologies package. The package includes resourcing to support development of CCS methods for the Emissions Reduction Fund, a voluntary scheme that encourages organisations to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce their emissions.

Taylor said that carbon capture technologies will be critical in achieving net zero emissions from power generation, natural gas, and hydrogen production as well as process emissions from heavy industries such as cement and fertiliser production.

He added: “This investment is a practical example of the Morrison Government’s commitment to being a low emissions technology leader and reducing emissions through technology, not taxes.”

Keith Pitt, Minister for Resources, Water, and Northern Australia, said that the fund will support ongoing use of Australia’s abundant natural resources.

Pitt further commented: “Technology like this will be the key to further reducing emissions and ensure our premium quality coal will play an important role in Australia, and the world’s, energy needs for decades to come.”

According to the Australian Government, CCUS technologies have high abatement and economic potential, particularly in regional areas of Australia. It expects that investing in low emissions technologies will contribute to the nation as it continues to meet and beat its emissions reduction targets. Australia beat its 2020 reduction target by 459m t. The country aimed to achieve a 5% reduction in emissions compared to 2000 levels by 2020, with 2000 emissions having been 559m tCO2-e.

The country is on track to meet its 2030 target of reducing emissions to 26–28% below 2005 levels by 2030. Emissions in 2005 were 609m tCO2-e.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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