CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

QLD carbon capture project to help tackle climate change


In a first for Queensland, CSIRO and Tarong Energy today announced a A$5 million joint pilot project to capture greenhouse gases.

The project will see the installation of a post-combustion capture (PCC) pilot plant at Tarong Power Station, 45km south of Kingaroy.

The pilot plant is designed to capture 1500 tonnes per annum of CO2 from the power station and is part of a broader research program to identify ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector.

The two-year project will start immediately, with the pilot plant expected to be operational in the first half of 2009 and the research activities associated with the technology completed in 2011.

Director of CSIRO’s Energy Transformed National Research Flagship, Dr John Wright, said low emission energy generation was a key research area for the Flagship.

“About 80 per cent of the energy consumed in Australia is generated from large, coal-fired power stations,” Dr Wright said.

“It is critical that we find ways to make coal a cleaner energy source and we’re pleased to be working with Tarong Energy to help find these solutions.”

“About 80 per cent of the energy consumed in Australia is generated from large, coal-fired power stations,”
Dr Wright said.“When coupled with CO2 sequestration, post-combustion capture, offers the potential for near zero emissions from coal-fired power stations.

“While this project won’t immediately reduce emissions, the information gathered from the research work will be used to assist the selection of the technology for a commercial-scale application.”

In the PCC process the power station’s flue gas is passed through a chemical solution (sorbent) where 85-95 per cent of the CO2 is captured. The CO2-rich sorbent is heated which releases the CO2. After compression and cooling the CO2 then forms a liquid ready for pipeline transport to a sequestration site.

The Tarong trial will focus on assessing the performance of an amine-based PCC pilot plant that will be integrated into the existing coal-fired power stations. CSIRO and Tarong Energy will each contribute A$2.5million to the project.

The PCC pilot plant at Tarong is an integral part of the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP) program's PCC Flagship Project.  This APP project involves trials at several power stations, including Tarong, a pilot plant installation (based on ammonia) at Delta Electricity’s Munmorah power station on the NSW Central Coast and the establishment of a pilot plant at Gaobeidian Power Station in Beijing.  These trials are backed up by the development of a world-class PCC laboratory in Australia.

The work in Australia and China is making a leading contribution to the international development of technology that can be retrofitted to existing coal power station to capture greenhouse gas emissions. CSIRO is operating at the leading edge in developing PCC technologies. The Australian Government is supporting this work by CSIRO through a A$12 million grant under the APP.

CSIRO is also undertaking PCC research outside the scope of the APP program with a A$5.6 million project in the Latrobe Valley, which focuses on the flue gases produced from brown coal power plants.

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