CO2CRC and its predecessor, APCRC, have been undertaking research into the geological storage (geosequestration) of carbon dioxide since 1998. The early work demonstrated that Australia had a large storage “resource”. More recent work has increasingly focussed on turning that resource into useable storage space.
Researchers from all three CO2CRC research programs contribute to regional studies, which assess a range of geological sites that have the potential to be suitable for long-term storage of CO2. These studies incorporate geological conditions, storage reservoir characteristics, proximity to stationary CO2 sources, economic issues and regional strategies for CO2 mitigation.
The following studies are underway or completed.
New South Wales (NSW)
The storage capacity of NSW is not well known. CO2CRC developed two new sub-projects during 2006/07 to improve our understanding of the storage potential in both the Sydney and Gunnedah Basins in NSW. These basins were selected due to their proximity to the majority of large NSW greenhouse gas emissions sources. Project plans were developed during 2006/07 and data gathering and preliminary modelling is currently underway.
Queensland is a major producer of electricity, derived overwhelmingly from coal but with coal seam methane an increasingly important energy source. As a result of this high level of dependency on fossil fuels, Queensland is also a large scale emitter of carbon dioxide. The State has no wish to limit its access to cost effective energy but at the same time seeks to contribute to the overall objective of decreasing Australia’s greenhouse gas signature. One of the options for doing this lies with the application of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) or geosequestration to major stationary emissions.
A detailed study of the CO2 storage capacity part of southeast Queensland, with particular focus on the Bowen Basin, was undertaken by a CO2CRC researchers in 2006. The study provides an excellent example of the type of work that must be undertaken if we are to effectively characterise a geological storage site and demonstrate that it will meet the requirements of storage security and capacity. The study convincingly demonstrates that the Wunger Ridge is likely to be technically suitable as a CO2 storage site. More work is necessary to turn that potential into a technical and economic reality but this study represents a very important first step.
A study of the Galilee Basin in Central West Queensland has been suspended.
Western Australia (WA)
A study on the southern part of the Perth Basin was carried out between 2004 and 2006. The work for this CO2CRC project was chiefly conducted at Geoscience Australia with important contributions from the Australian School of Petroleum, CSIRO and the University of New South Wales.
A regional study on potential CO2 geosequestration in the Collie Basin and the Perth Basin of Western Australia was completed in 2007. The work was conducted on behalf of the Western Australian Department of Industry and Resources and the Coal Futures Group and aimed to identify storage opportunities in the Collie Basin, onshore WA.
A number of comprehensive studies have been carried out by CO2CRC in the state of Victoria.
The Gippsland Basin in southeastern Victoria is considered to be a potentially excellent location for carbon dioxide (CO2) geosequestration. The region is home to the Latrobe Valley’s large, industrial CO2 sources and has the potential, offshore, to provide safe geological storage of CO2. This storage potential was researched by scientists from the CO2CRC working on the Latrobe Valley CO2 Storage Assessment (LVCSA). The results of this study were published in 2005.
In December 2006 the CO2CRC published a Review of Geological Storage Opportunities for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in Victoria. This reports on the results of a study that was conducted by the commercial arm of CO2CRC on behalf of the State of Victoria, Department of Primary Industries. This review further evaluates the storage opportunities in Victoria and assesses the potential for applying geosequestration as a major mitigation option for Victoria.
The CO2CRC Otway Project, Australia's first demonstration of geosequestration, is located in Victoria, as are the two capture demonstration projects in which CO2CRC has significant involvement.
NB. No site-specific studies are currently underway in South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory
This sub-project aims to assess the CO2 storage potential of New Zealand. The 'Satellite View' of NZ storage potential was completed in 2006/07 and a second phase is planned for 2007/08 and will provide a more-detailed assessment of NZ storage potential.
In 2005 ICTPL (now CO2CRC Technologies) completed and published the results of an assessment of potential CO2 storage sites in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region. This study was completed on behalf of the CO2CRC for the APEC Secretariat and reveiwed potential CO2 storage sites in China, Indonesia, the republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Phillipines, Chinese Taipei and Thailand.
The work was initiated in 2001 by the APEC Expert Group on Clean Fossil Energy (EGCFE) as the first phase of a multi-phase program on carbon dioxide capture and geological storage in the APEC region. The EGCFE operates under the APEC Energy Working Group (EWG), one of whose key roles is to promote sustainable energy development within the APEC community.
The CO2CRC is part of a consortium appointed to determine Ireland’s all-island potential for geological storage of carbon dioxide, assessing capacity, risk of leakage, cost, and relationship to suitable sources of carbon dioxide emissions.