Why is this project taking place?
According to CSIRO (2009), "Australian homes use more fossil fuel than any other kind of energy resource. This includes coal and gas for our electricity, oil for transport fuels and natural gas for heating as well as the energy it takes to make all the goods and services we buy."
The International Energy Agency reports that even with concerted action, fossil fuels will still provide 60% of the world’s primary energy by 2040. The IEA cites CCS as playing a “unique and vital role” in the global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from this use of fossil fuels.
In addition to electricity generation, many other industrial processes including the production of cement, iron, steel, fertilisers and chemicals rely heavily on fossil fuels. These processes would therefore all benefit from the use of CCS to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Projects such as the Integrated Surat Basin CCS Project will bring valuable insight into the development of CCS in an industrially scalable, safe and cost-effective manner for all large-scale emitters of CO2.
Why is the Surat Basin being used for CCS?
Australia uses significant quantities of abundant and low cost fossil fuels (eg coal, gas and oil) for its primary energy generation and other industrial processes. As Australia transitions to lower emissions energy resources over the coming years, it is expected that it will still use significant quantities of fossil fuels. It is therefore important to explore technologies which will help fossil fuel use reduce its emissions impact.
This site in the Surat Basin was chosen to host this demonstration project for a number of reasons:
- In 2009, the Surat Basin was identified as a key potential geostorage area by the National Carbon Storage Taskforce report and the Queensland Government’s GHG Storage Atlas.
- The geology of the Surat Basin, including the Precipice Sandstone has up to 2.9 billion tonnes of GHG storage potential.
- There are a significant number of coal-fired power stations nearby, making it easy to transport CO2 to the site, and therefore reducing transport costs.