Supported by government and industry, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has developed a roadmap that explores the risks and opportunities associated with the scale-up of carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) in Australia.
The CO2 Utilisation Roadmap identifies how emerging CCU technologies could be used to support growth opportunities in Australia’s food and beverages industry, the creation of zero or low carbon building products and materials, and position Australia for the export of low emissions chemicals and fuels.
CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Larry Marshall, said CCU technologies can help transition Australia towards a lower emissions future while creating economic growth.
“No single technology will take us to net-zero – the scale of our challenge in adapting to climate change and decarbonising our industries requires us to draw on every available tool,” Dr Marshall said.
“The development and demonstration of high abatement technologies like CCU has the potential to have a significant impact, as part of our broader efforts to both reduce emissions and lift the competitiveness of our industries.”
The report notes that there are a range of industries, such as cement, steel, plastics and heavy transport, which still heavily rely on fossil fuels.
These ‘hard to abate’ industries are big emitters – accounting for about a sixth of Australia’s emissions and around a third of global emissions.
CCU technologies capture CO2 from the waste streams of industrial processes, or directly from the atmosphere, and convert it into useful commercial products like synthetic fuels, chemicals, carbon fibre and building materials.
Associate Director of CSIRO Futures, Vivek Srinivasan, said Australia is well-placed to lead in CCU technologies.
“Our analysis shows that Australia is well-positioned to capitalise on the CCU opportunity and become a leader in this emerging area,” Mr Srinivasan said.
“Australia’s advantages include capacity to implement the low-cost, low-emission electricity needed for CCU technologies, a track record for developing internationally competitive export industries, and established international bilateral agreements on low emissions technologies.”
The Roadmap draws on extensive national and international consultation, modelling and analysis to determine the key advantages, barriers and considerations to support scale-up for identified areas of CCU opportunity for Australia.
Sponsors and supporting organisations of the Roadmap include the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Woodside, Santos, BHP, Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers, APA Group, Mineral Carbonation International, the Victorian Government, KBR, Advisian, Australian Trade and Investment Commission and CO2 Value Australia.
The full report can be downloaded here.