Millions Given To Carbon Capture, Use And Storage Projects

Carbon capture, use and storage funding

On Tuesday, the Morrison Government announced companies getting a share from its $50 million Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS) Development Fund.

The projects:

Santos Limited – up to $15 million towards capture and storage of CO2 emitted from Santos’s Moomba LNG operations for permanent storage in South Australia’s Cooper Basin. The project is expected to store 1.7 million tonnes per annum on an ongoing basis. Santos is pretty chuffed and has been chasing government cash for this as far back as 14 years.

Mineral Carbonation International – up to $14.6 million towards the construction of a mobile demonstration plant that doesn’t just capture CO2, but also produces carbonates that can be used in materials such as concrete and plasterboard. MCI has received government funding in the past.

Carbon Transport and Storage Company – this firm will be receiving up to $5 million to demonstrate the viability of capturing carbon from a coal-fired power station in Queensland and the development of a geological storage basin in the Surat Basin, which is part of the Great Artesian Basin drainage basin that covers an area of 270,000 square kilometres.

Corporate Carbon Advisory Pty Ltd – up to $4 million towards a demonstration direct-air-capture (DAC) and storage project which would see CO2 pumped into an existing injection well in Moomba, South Australia. Instead of capturing CO2 at the source, DAC involves extracting it from ambient air.

Boral Limited – up to $2.4 million to help fund a pilot scale carbon capture and use project with the goal of improving quality of recycled concrete, masonry and steel slag aggregates.

CCS: Dirt Meets Rug

There are some interesting projects among these – the others are just equivalent to sweeping dirt under a rug and hoping it stays there.

Commercial viability, environmental and safety concerns aside, one of the other issues of pursuing CCS is that it may provide an excuse to extend the extraction and use of fossil fuels. This could slow down the transition to a renewable energy future – a transition that needs to occur really quickly. $50 million could do a significant amount of good in helping to further accelerate related technologies.

On the bright side, these projects will generate jobs and investment. Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor commented that the government received applications to support $1.2 billion of investment in carbon capture projects and technologies.

But further funding is available, and cash was earmarked in the  2020-21 Budget for supporting the development of a CCS method for the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF); which Minister Taylor said is expected to be completed later this year.

Carbon capture, use and storage is one of five priority areas for future investment under the Morrison Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap. It’s so keen on CCS that it has been putting pressure on the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to fund projects. Recently Minister Taylor changed ARENA regulations to allow it to happen – something that Labor and the Greens have vowed to reverse.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Geoff Miell says

    Michael,
    I think you’ve forgotten to include/mention substantial past government subsidies for CCS. The latest $50 million for the Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS) Development Fund is in addition to more than a billion dollars of government subsidies for CCS already squandered.

    The Australia Institute (TAI) published a report by Bill Browne and Tom Swann titled “Money for nothing” on 30 May 2017. It includes:

    “Despite over a billion dollars of Australian government spending on CCS initiatives since 2003, there are still no large-scale coal with CCS operations in Australia.”
    https://australiainstitute.org.au/report/money-for-nothing/

    Meanwhile, published on 6 Jun 2021 at CNBC.com was a piece by Lucy Handley headlined “How Asia’s ‘first lady of coal’ says she’s working on a sustainable future”. It includes a video of an interview with Somruedee Chaimongkol, chief executive of energy firm Banpu Public Company, duration 06:36. The piece includes:

    “Will Banpu ever exit coal mining altogether? Not in the next five to 10 years, according to Chaimongkol, as there will still be a demand from customers for it. But the company won’t invest in new coal assets, she said, adding it will instead be pumping money into renewable energy and in doing so reducing the contribution of coal to the firm’s turnover.”
    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/07/banpu-ceo-how-the-coal-company-is-moving-towards-renewable-energy.html

    Bampu is the parent company that owns Centennial Coal (although Centennial seems to have dropped the word “Coal” from their branding), which has a number of coal operations in NSW.
    https://www.centennialcoal.com.au/operations/

    In last Friday’s (Jun 11) Lithgow Mercury was an article by Benjamin Palmer headlined “Angus Place in doubt after parent company pivots to clean energy future”. It began with:

    “Thai Energy company Banpu, which owns Centennial Coal has announced it won’t be investing in any new coal assets, casting doubt on its plans to re-open and expand the Angus Place colliery near Lithgow.”
    https://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/7291551/angus-place-in-doubt-after-parent-company-pivots-to-clean-energy-future/?cs=12

    Mt Piper Power Station (1430 MW) currently sources thermal coal from nearby Springvale Mine, but Springvale is reportedly forecast to exhaust its coal reserves by 2024. Clarence Mine’s development consent expires at the end of 2026. So it seems Mt Piper may need to source coal supplies much further away in a few years time, which will likely increase operating costs.

    Why squander more millions/billions of dollars on CCS technologies that don’t work, and won’t be needed as further investments in fossil fuels are likely to be heading into rapid decline?
    https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/what-is-carbon-capture-and-storage/
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/06/12/fact-sheet-g7-to-announce-joint-actions-to-end-public-support-for-overseas-unabated-coal-generation-by-end-of-2021/

  2. Des Scahill says

    The fact that the announcement ‘just so happened’ to coincide with our PM jetting off to the 2 day G7 summit, which itself ‘just so happened’ to coincide with a climate change conference the day after, while all the country leaders were together; has all the hallmarks of an attempt by Scomo to deflect any more ‘criticism’ from all and sundry.

    IMO, it’s got to the point where no-one really takes him seriously anymore.

    Sure, Cabinet has had to deal with COVID, but that’s why we have Ministers for Health etc etc. Each minister has their own portfolios that they’re personally responsible for administering,

    It’s the old ‘meeting and beating our objectives’ routine again.\

    It’s all rather sad really.

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