Going underground to reduce Australia's carbon footprint

06 August 2012

Australian scientists are leading the way in identifying possible sites for the geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2), as part of the Australian Government’s strategy to tackle climate change.

This work supports the International Energy Agency’s view that developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies could help achieve the required 50 per cent cut to greenhouse gas emissions from energy use by 2050.

Geoscience Australia researchers will be presenting details of their CCS research at the International Geological Congress in Brisbane today and tomorrow – research which is contributing to Australia reaching its goal of a low carbon economy.

Dr Andrew Heap, Basin Resources Group Leader at Geoscience Australia said that identifying suitable CO2 storage sites close to sources of major greenhouse emissions is essential. This will help industry and government to make informed decisions about the development of suitable transport and storage infrastructure.

“Other areas of our program are focussed on developing a thorough understanding of the processes involved in injecting CO2 into suitable geological formations, and developing sound regulation mechanisms around the long-term monitoring of CO2 storage,” Dr Heap said.

CCS is one of the technologies that can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, particularly from sources such as coal or natural gas fired power stations and industrial plants. In this process CO2 is captured at the source, for example the power station, transported via pipeline and injected deep underground into a porous rock, such as sandstone. It is then trapped in the porous rock by the overlying fine grained and impermeable mud rocks.

Geoscience Australia's work in researching and identifying suitable sites for the geological storage of CO2 will ensure Australia continues to be a leader in the development of this technology. Researchers are currently undertaking a pre-competitive data acquisition program in onshore and offshore geological basins, to assess their potential for long term CO2 storage under the Australian Government’s National CO2 Infrastructure Plan (NCIP) and National Low Emissions Coal Initiative (NLECI).

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact: Geoscience Australia 24 hour Media Hotline 1800 882 035

Topic contact: media@ga.gov.au Last updated: October 4, 2013