CO2CRC is Australia’s leading carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) research organisation
CO2CRC INSIGHTS | December 2020
  • Policy: Australia, Japan, the US and ASEAN join forces on CCUS
 
  • Investment: Shell launches Blue Hydrogen process
 
  • Policy: Geosciences Australia launches hydrogen opportunities mapping project
 
  • Research: Fibre-optic CCS monitoring system launched by Silixa
 
  • Research: CSIRO and Monash University announce breakthrough in direct air CO2 capture 
 
  • Policy: German cement industry lays out plan to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2050
 
  • Policy and investment: UK government commits GBP1 billion to carbon capture projects by the end of the decade
 
  • Investment: Danish Plan for subsea CO2 storage clears important technical hurdle
 
  • Investment: Toshiba commences operating major CCS facility at biomass power plant
 
  • Policy: Carbon capture represents rare climate policy item with bilateral US support
 
  • FEATURE: CO2CRC successfully commences CO2 injection at the Otway International Test Centre
Policy: Australia, Japan, the US and ASEAN join forces on CCUS
 
Japan recently announced a CCUS partnership with the ten ASEAN members, Australia and the US. The partnership follows PM Yoshihide Suga's October commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
 
The partners have agreed to scope potential sites throughout Australia and Southeast Asia for CCUS. Japan's trade ministry believes there is the capacity to sequester 10 billion tonnes of CO2 throughout Asia. After the scoping exercise the participating countries and companies will look to commercialise CCUS technologies by 2030.
 
Japan remains focused on thermal electricity and recognises that capturing carbon emissions is essential to net zero ambitions. The partnership aims to be formally launched in 2021.
Investment: Shell launches blue hydrogen process
 
In November, Energy major Shell announced the launch of a fully integrated blue hydrogen process. Blue hydrogen involves producing hydrogen gas from fossil fuel feedstocks and capturing and storing resulting carbon emissions. The Shell process reduces the cost of hydrogen production by 22% compared to processes currently on the market. 
 
Shell believes the process is price comparative to grey hydrogen (fossil-fuel based production without emissions capture) with a carbon price of USD25-35 per tonne. Green hydrogen, produced using renewable-energy powered electrolysis of water, may still be more than double the price of hydrogen by 2030 and not achieve price parity by 2045, according to Shell. 
Policy: Geosciences Australia launches hydrogen opportunities mapping project
 
A comprehensive online mapping tool has been launched by Geosciences Australia to help policymakers and the energy industry identify opportunities for hydrogen production. Australia's Hydrogen Opportunities Tool (AustH2) will be available free of charge and will harmonise over 7000 national datasets.
 
AustH2 will allow users to identify key infrastructure, existing hydrogen processing and research locations, and renewable energy facilities.
 
The tool is designed to facilitate policy making and investment planning for both green and blue hydrogen projects, and - according to Geosciences Australia Chief of Minerals, Energy and Groundwater Division Dr Andrew Heap - "includes assessing how much CO2 could be stored in different geological basins and evaluating different CO2 monitoring techniques."
Research: Fibre-optic CCS monitoring system launched by Silixa
 
Silixa has launched a CCS monitoring system that the company believes will offer low-cost, accurate monitoring for onshore and offshore carbon capture and storage projects.
 
"Carina CarbonSecure" utilises fibre-optic technology to deliver real-time monitoring of all operational stages of CCS, from exploration to injection and throughout the storage stage. The system requires fewer seismic sources than comparable approaches, reducing costs and environmental impact.
 
As Silixa CEO Glynn Williams points out: "CCS is a key component of the energy transition and plays an essential role in achieving international emissions targets...That is why we are launching Carina CarbonSecure: to enable the low-cost, reliable, and exceptionally accurate monitoring capability that is crucial to the take-up of CCS.”
 
CO2CRC and Silixa have collaborated on technology deployment during the Otway Stage 2C and Stage 3 Projects at the Otway International Test Centre.
Research: CSIRO and Monash University announce breakthough in direct air CO2 capture

Monash University and CSIRO have announced the development of a new device for capturing CO2 from the atmosphere. The Airthena device utilises metal organic frameworks to selectively capture carbon dioxide.
 
The prototype of the device is capable of capturing six kilograms of CO2 a day, but to turn it into a commercial opportunity it will need to increase to six tonnes a day. The CO2 can then be made available to end users in horticulture, construction, and the chemical industry.
 
The device captures CO2 at a cost of approximately $100 per tonne. 
Policy: German cement industry lays out plan to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2050
 
VDZ, the peak body representing the German cement industry has presented a plan to achieve decarbonisation of the industry by 2050. The announcement follows the release of a plan outlining emissions reduction strategies.
 
These strategies include a move away from fossil fuel energy generation, as well as a focus on efficiency. VDZ Managing Director Martin Schneider underlined the importance of carbon capture, utilisation and storage: "Without CCU and CCS, it will not work [net-zero emissions by 2050]. We are dependent on these measures,"
 
Major VDZ member Heidelberg Cement has also committed to reducing CO2 emissions from cement production by 30% from 1990 levels by 2025.
Policy and investment: UK governemnt commits GBP1 billion to carbon capture projects by the end of the decade
 
The government of the United Kingdom has sent a strong signal by committing to invest a total of GBP1 billion to support the development of four CCUS hubs in strategic locations by the end of the 2020s.
 
The commitment comes as part of the government's 10-point "Green Industrial Revolution" plan, which was announced by PM Boris Johnson in mid-November. One of the targets is to capture and store 10MT of CO2 by 2030, making the UK a world leader in CCUS.
 
The government hopes that development of the four hubs will create 50,000 jobs and help decarbonise the UK's industrial sector. A report commissioned by the operators of one of the hubs (in the Humber region) found that 25,000 jobs could be created at that location alone, with a further 24,000 supported throughout the economy.
Investment: Danish Plan for subsea CO2 storage clears important technical hurdle

A planned reservoir for CO2 storage in the Danish North Sea has been independently verified as meeting technical requirements, bringing the potential project one step closer. The proposed Nini West field has been found suitable for injecting 0.45 million tonnes of CO2 per well, per year over a ten-year period.
 
The Nini West field is a former hydrocarbon reservoir. Operated by INEOS Oil and Gas Denmark, the company leading the CCS project, which is named Project Greensand. Project proponents plan to begin injecting CO2 as soon as 2025, eventually ramping up to 3.5 million tonnes per year.
Investment: Toshiba commences operating major CCS facility at biomass power plant

Toshiba Energy Systems and Solutions has announced that a carbon capture facility attached to the Mikawa biomass power plant has commenced operations. The facility is supported by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment and will be the first in the world to capture emissions from large-scale biomass-fuelled energy generation.
 
The CCS facility will capture 500 tonnes of CO2 per day, which represents more than 50% of the Mikawa facility's daily emissions. Applying CCS technology to all units at the biomass power plant would create a "negative emission" BECCS power plant.
 
Toshiba Energy Systems and Solutions are hopeful that the technology can be applied to new thermal power plants, and also retrofitted to existing facilities.
Policy: Carbon capture represents rare climate policy item with bilateral US support

CCUS is an area of policy action that will receive support from both sides of US politics during the coming presidential term. Investment in carbon capture is a feature of both Republican and Democrat climate policy, meaning that CCUS policies are more likely to pass an expected Republican-controlled Senate.
 
President-Elect Joe Biden has declared his intention to take action on environmental issues, specifically singling out CCUS as a priority: Mr Biden has announced his intention to “accelerate the development and deployment of carbon capture sequestration (CCS) technology.”
FEATURE: CO2CRC successfully commences CO2 injection at the Otway International Test Centre
In early December, CO2CRC announced that the CO2 injection operations for the Otway Stage 3 Project have successfully commenced.
 
CO2CRC’s Otway Stage 3 Project will develop next generation subsurface M&V technologies for field application.
 
CO2 storage projects require monitoring and verification (M&V) to understand behaviour of the CO2 plume and provide assurance of storage complex integrity.
 
Traditional methods monitor the CO2 from the surface and can be costly and unable to provide information on a continuous basis. The Otway Stage 3 Project will use technologies which instead provide an on-demand image of the CO2 plume in the subsurface. The monitoring techniques have a lower surface environmental footprint, can be operated and monitored remotely, are more cost-effective and come with a high level of reliability.
 
“Initial estimates show the technologies being tested could provide a cost saving of up to 75 percent of monitoring costs over traditional monitoring technologies,” said David Byers, CEO of CO2CRC.
 
“CO2 injection will pause in early Jan 2021, when around 5,000 tonnes of CO2 will have been injected. At this point we will perform our first pressure tomography measurement as well as an intermediate surface based seismic survey, allowing comparison between traditional M&V techniques and the novel technologies and methodologies deployed as part of the Otway Stage 3 Project.”
 
“We are already seeing significant improvements in data collection and processing times. The Stage 3 technologies will enable operators to track the plume on demand, as it moves through the storage reservoir. This will allow operators to reduce the number of on-going repeat surface seismic acquisition operations and significantly reduce on-going monitoring costs.”
 
“The M&V techniques will provide regulators and communities with ongoing confidence that CO2 injected deep underground is permanently stored within the bounds of the storage formation in large scale CCUS projects,” he said.
 
After the January pause, a further 10,000 tonnes of CO2 will be injected with additional measurements made after each 5,000 tonnes to further test the sensitivity and accuracy of the new M&V techniques. Research and analysis of data will continue into 2022.
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