CSIRO leads the case for a carbon capture hub in Darwin

Image credit: https://activatedarwin.nt.gov.au/

The Northern Territory Government is pitching for a large-scale carbon capture hub in Darwin to fast-track emissions reduction across Northern Australia’s energy sector.

The Northern Territory Government has partnered with Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, as well as with industry and engineering companies, to develop the blueprint, which will assess the viability of a large-scale low emissions carbon capture use and storage (CCUS) hub based at Middle Arm.

CCUS is an emerging technology with the potential to reduce emissions from industrial processes including resource power plants and heavy industry. The CO2 is separated from other gases and compressed. It can then be permanently stored in underground geological formations or used to create commercial products.

The Hub would both significantly reduce emissions, but also catalyse the growth of new sustainable industries that could continue throughout the energy transition. If built, it would be one of the world’s largest facilities of its kind.

The hub would enable the development of an interconnected hydrogen industry and the utilisation of the carbon captured in other industrial processes, such as production of other non-fossil fuel alternatives for transportation. It could also create a blueprint for future low emissions hubs around Australia.

The business case will also outline how to significantly reduce the emissions of the Territory’s gas industry providing a tangible pathway towards the net zero emissions targets set by the Territory Government and industry proponents.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall, said CSIRO’s expertise across the energy domain, along with its deep connection with industry, meant it was well placed to lead the work.

 “As Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO is always looking for ways to bring business and government together to envision and deliver a more sustainable future for some of our largest industries,” Dr Marshall said.

“The NT Hub could create new jobs and export pathways, and give Australia a global advantage by pushing the boundaries of science and technology to put home-grown innovation into real world demonstration projects, including through our Hydrogen Industry mission.”

With expertise in hydrogen and Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage, CSIRO will provide impartial scientific advice, coordinate the development of detailed concept designs, build international linkages, and conduct geological research and economic and customer studies.

Industry and engineering companies who have committed to collaborating on the business case include Santos, INPEX, Woodside, Eni, Origin Energy and Xodus.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the state was a “natural fit” for the investment.

“We are home to world-class natural gas and solar resources and subsurface carbon dioxide storage capacity, and we are on the doorstep of key international energy export markets,” the Chief Minister said.

The Australian Government is investing more than $300 million in CCUS over 10 years, including $250 million via the  CCUS Hubs and Technologies program and $50 million in the CCUS Development Fund to supported six new CCUS technology projects.

Victoria is another state aspiring to have a CCUS facility with the CarbonNet project working towards establishing a commercial scale Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) network under Bass Strait in Gippsland. The project is currently undergoing a 12-month Environmental Effects Statement (EES) assessment process. Ff materialised, CarbonNet’s Pelican site could store the equivalent emissions from more than one million cars each year for 25 years.

A report produced by EY estimates that the new industries CarbonNet could support may deliver up to 3,000 construction jobs and then up to 1,000 ongoing operational jobs from 2030.


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