CO2CRC is Australia’s leading carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCS) research organisation
  • CLEAN ENERGY: Chief Scientist acknowledges critical role for carbon capture and storage

  • POLICY: Morrison backs innovation in emissions battle

  • COOPERATION: Australia and Japan sign agreement on hydrogen, highlighting CCUS

  • ANNOUNCEMENT: Microsoft pushes carbon capture in carbon negative strategy

  • CEMENT EMISSIONS: Total and Occidental team up in Colorado

  • INDUSTRIAL CCUS: Innovation for Cool Earth Forum highlights CCS in roadmap

  • FEATURE: CO2CRC Stage 2C Project
CLEAN ENERGY: Chief Scientist acknowledges critical role for CCS
Australia’s chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, spoke to the National Press Club in Canberra on 12 February 2020 on his long-term vision for the ‘electric planet’. He called for a technology-driven orderly transition to clean energy and emphasised the need for natural gas and fossil fuel based hydrogen to complement solar and wind to decarbonise Australia’s energy and industrial sectors.

"The only way to meet the energy needs of the future without sacrificing standards of living, or undermining the economy, is by planning for an orderly transition that embraces science and technology as the stepping-stones to the future we want,” said Dr Finkel.

CO2CRC has welcomed Dr Finkel’s speech and his acknowledgement of the need to invest in producing hydrogen from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage (CCS) attached to ensure an economically sustainable hydrogen industry.

“CCS is a proven technology with a critical role to play in delivering reliable, secure low-emissions energy and supporting the development of Australia’s burgeoning hydrogen industry,” said CO2CRC’s CEO, David Byers. 

Read Dr Finkel’s full speech here.
POLICY: Morrison backs innovation in emissions battle

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated that the Government will look at ways to mobilise technological innovations to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions, as part of a longer-term response to Australia’s current bushfire crisis.

The Federal Government has stated that it is looking at more than 100 technologies – including hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, lithium production, biofuels and waste-to-energy and will shortly release its technology roadmap consultation paper to guide Australia’s future technology investment in a number of areas including carbon capture and storage.

The response appears to balance the complex problem of reducing emissions and energy costs while also maintaining a strong economy. 
COOPERATION: Australia and Japan sign agreement on hydrogen, highlighting CCUS

Australia and Japan have signed a landmark agreement on hydrogen production which recognises the need for CCUS.

The Joint Statement on Cooperation on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells was signed in early January by Australia’s former Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, and Japan’s Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshi Kajiyama.

The agreement states that both governments recognise “that hydrogen is a key contributor to reducing emissions, especially when produced from renewable energy or fossil fuels combined with Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS).”

The agreement strengthens cooperation between Japan and Australia on hydrogen, describing the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain ( HESC) project in Victoria as the ‘cornerstone’ of the relationship.

As reported in earlier issues, the HESC project is a world first trial to establish the feasibility of supplying clean hydrogen for export from Victoria’s Latrobe Valley’s brown coal. The hydrogen produced will be liquefied and transported to Japan in specially designed hydrogen carriers. Hydrogen can be produced with near-zero emissions from coal, when coupled with CCS. A site in the Bass Strait is looking promising as a future location for permanently storing the CO 2 produced by the project. 
ANNOUNCEMENT: Microsoft pushes carbon capture in carbon negative strategy

Microsoft has announced that it will use CCUS as part of the company’s longer-term objectives to go ‘ carbon-negative’.

The announcement from the tech giant follows a similar announcement by the California-based tech company Stripe in 2019.

Microsoft’s announcement in January stated that it would be launching a USD1 billion “climate innovation fund to accelerate the global development of carbon reduction, capture, and removal technologies.”

The company’s objectives are ambitious, with a promise to “remove more carbon than it emits” by 2030, and a larger objective by 2050 of removing all the carbon the company has emitted since 1975.

It has stated it will do this “through a portfolio of negative emission technologies (NET) potentially including afforestation and reforestation, soil carbon sequestration, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), and direct air capture (DAC).”
CEMENT EMISSIONS: Total and Occidental team up in Colorado

France’s Total and the US-based Occidental have announced they will partner on a significant carbon-capture project in Colorado. The project will be attached to an industrial cement plant in Portland, Colorado and aims to capture around 725,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) annually. Occidental will use the captured CO 2 for its enhanced oil recovery operations in Colorado and West Texas.

The Colorado project follows on from a similar project undertaken by Total and LarfargeHolcim in Canada, called CO2MENT. CO2MENT commenced in 2017 and has successfully demonstrated CO 2 capture from cement flue gases. This year, the project will begin the next phase of their demonstration in which the captured CO 2 will be converted into low-carbon fuels, CO 2 concrete and fly ash. 
INDUSTRIAL CCUS: Innovation for Cool Earth Forum highlights CCUS in roadmap

Every year since 2014 the Japanese government has hosted the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF), gathering leading international figures tackling climate change through technological innovation in Tokyo, Japan .  In December 2019, ICEF launched a new roadmap for industrial heat decarbonisation for the most recent UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Madrid.

ICEF says that roughly 10% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from the production of heat for industrial processes and CCUS can play a significant role in reducing this figure. The roadmap highlights key roles for CCUS in cement production, noting that unlike other technologies, CCUS “has the distinct benefit of being able to reduce the total emissions—both process heat and calcination—by upwards of 90%”.

In steelmaking, it states that “Carbon capture from flue gases at a conventional integrated steel mill has substantial technical potential for reducing overall emissions.”

The report notes that the larger challenge for CCUS uptake in industrial processes is not so much the technological advances (which are progressing) and the costs (which are falling) but the deployment of the technology among many players. 
FEATURE : CO2CRC Otway Stage 2C project – Field scale CO 2 storage investigation.


An Australia-wide study found that the country’s numerous large saline aquifers have ample capacity for commercial-scale CO 2 storage. However, since limited research had been undertaken to investigate storage of CO 2 in these formations in Australia, the CO2CRC Otway Stage 2C Project was developed. This project set out to demonstrate end to end, field-scale storage of CO 2 in a saline aquifer. The objectives were:

  1. investigate the capabilities of various seismic techniques to detect and monitor the injected CO2 underground,
  2. observe the migration of the CO2 plume using time-lapse seismic monitoring techniques, and
  3. demonstrate and verify the stabilisation of the CO2 plume. 

Permanent storage of CO 2 underground relies on various mechanisms to limit the movement of the CO 2 plume and ensure its containment. Seismic monitoring detects injected CO 2 and tracks its migration within a reservoir. 

Various seismic monitoring technologies (time-lapse 3D surface seismic, vertical seismic profiling, and cross-well seismic) promise low impact, cost effective assurance and performance-based monitoring solutions for commercial storage projects. 

Methodology and monitoring techniques employed
The CO2CRC Otway National Research Facility in south-west Victoria is one of the world’s only CO 2 storage demonstration projects internationally. The facility provides the means to monitor the injection and trapping of CO 2 underground, in the field.
Between December 2015 and April 2016, 15,000 tonnes of CO 2 was injected at CO2CRC’s facility at a depth of approximately 1,500m.
Seismic monitoring took place before, during and after injection, a process known as time-lapse 3D seismic. This involves the use of an array of geophone receivers buried just under the surface to detect the seismic signal paired with conventional vibroseis where a seismic signal is produced by a truck-mounted seismic vibrator. Surface orbital vibrators were also successfully trialled as a seismic signal source enabling monitoring data to be acquired continuously. Other techniques including pressure and temperature monitoring and pulsed neutron logging were also deployed.


The stage 2C experiment successfully mapped the movement of CO 2 underground and determined that small amounts of CO 2, as little as 5,000 tonnes, could be detected. The ability to detect small movements of CO 2 is vital for operators, regulators, landholders and the community as it provides the confidence that the CO 2 injected underground can be accurately monitored and movement of the CO 2 outside of the storage complex can be quickly detected.

The project also provided confidence that CO 2 behaviour in saline aquifers can be reliably predicted and monitored. The CO 2 plume has been monitored in the two years since it was injected and the experiment has shown that the plume is safely contained in the injection zone, with migration having slowed substantially between one- and two-years post injection due to different trapping mechanisms. The assessment of plume stabilisation using seismic data and flow simulation results is in progress and the outcomes will provide CCS project proponents and site operators with critical information on resourcing of post-injection monitoring.

The project also trialled a variety of novel seismic monitoring techniques to demonstrate improvements in seismic acquisition.

There is a balance between cost, time, resolution and surface impact for any seismic monitoring at a CO 2 storage site. The Otway Stage 2C project provides an improved, demonstrated understanding of the performance of a range of seismic monitoring techniques.

The CO2CRC Otway Stage 2C project was jointly funded through its industry members and research partners, the Australian Government, the Victorian State Government and COAL21 through ANLEC R&D.  

For more information on this project, refer to the following papers:

  • Pevzner, R., Urosevic, M., Popik, D., Shulakova, V., Tertyshnikov, K., Caspari, E., Correa, J., Dance, T., Kepic, A., Glubokovskikh, S., Ziramov, S., Gurevich, B., Singh, R., Raab, M., Watson, M., Daley, T., Robertson, M., Freifeld, B., 2017. 4D surface seismic tracks small supercritical CO2 injection into the subsurface: CO2CRC Otway Project. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 63, 150–157.
  • Watson, M, Pevzner, R, Dance, T, Gurevich, B, Ennis-King, J, Glubokovskikh, S, Urosevic, M, Tertyshnikov, K, La Force, T, Tenthorey, E, Bagheri, M, Paterson, L, Cinar, Y, Freifeld, B, Singh, R and Raab, M, 2018. The Otway Stage 2C Project – End to end CO2 storage in a saline formation, comprising characterisation, injection and monitoring. In: GHGT-14, Melbourne, Australia, 21-25 October.