Collaborative project improves CO2 storage understanding

28 August 2014

Various types of machinery and pipes that make up a CO2 injection well.

One of two CO2 injection wells at
the CO2CRC Otway Project site.
Image courtesy of Cooperative
Research Centre for Greenhouse
Gas Technologies (CO2CRC).

A new book which provides a detailed account of the CO2CRC's Otway Project, Australia's first demonstration of deep geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2), was launched at Parliament House by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) Otway Project has worked towards demonstrating that the geological storage of CO2 storage is a safe, long-term option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The book Geologically Storing Carbon: Learning from the Otway Project Experience provides a detailed record of the many scientific insights achieved over the ten year period of this innovative project. Geoscience Australia is a major research partner in the CO2CRC, and scientists from Geoscience Australia played a significant role in the Otway Project and preparation of the book.

Geoscience Australia project leader Dr Andrew Feitz said the researchers in the Otway Project should be tremendously proud of the achievements.

"This project was a world-class interdisciplinary study and provides added confidence to the community and regulators that this new greenhouse gas mitigation technology is effective and safe," Dr Feitz said.

Geoscience Australia's contribution to the Otway Project was part of a larger Australian and international research effort. The findings from all the complementary monitoring techniques indicate that CO2 remains safely stored two kilometres below the surface in a sandstone reservoir.

A team from Geoscience Australia also led geomechanic investigations at the Otway Site, developing an understanding of the stresses on geological faults prior to and during the CO2 injection process. Another project tracked the migration of the CO2 in the storage reservoir via the monitoring of gases, isotopes and tracers at a dedicated monitoring well. A groundwater monitoring program also completed sampling of over 20 groundwater wells in the region, at least once a year, over a seven year period.

The Otway Project has injected and stored more than 60,000 tonnes of CO2 in a depleted gas reservoir deep underground near Warrnambool in south-western Victoria over the last 10 years.

Geologically Storing Carbon: Learning from the Otway Project Experience is available from CSIRO Publishing in Australia. Wiley is the international distributor.