The Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) has welcomed the announcement by Victoria’s Minister for Energy and Resources, Russell Northe, of an additional $5m for world leading research in carbon dioxide (CO2) storage at the Otway site.

CO2CRC CEO Dr. Richard Aldous today said the announcement—which followed a highly instructive examination of the international progress of carbon capture and storage (CCS) at Australia’s biennial National CCS Conference last week—showed the Victorian Government recognises the important role the technology has to play in tackling climate change.

“The Victorian Government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions through its support of CCS research demonstrates tremendous leadership,” Dr. Aldous said.

“In a world in which demand for fossil fuels is projected to continue for many decades, we must embrace all technologies with real potential to limit, or prevent, carbon emissions from fossil fuel use. CCS is a vital component in that portfolio of technologies.” 

“The Victorian Government’s new funding confirms the next stage of the CO2CRC Otway Project research program will go ahead, and it secures the ongoing use of Victoria’s brown coal.”

Dr. Aldous said the CO2CRC Otway Project had clearly shown that CO2 storage was a safe credible long-term option for mitigating emissions that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and contribute to further damaging climate change.

In fact, CCS is currently the only available method of making significant cuts to emissions from fossil fuel-powered energy generation and large industrial processes, such as refining oil or producing iron, steel, cement and ammonia.

“Otway offers one of the most comprehensive CO2 monitoring programs of its type in the world, providing technical information on geosequestration processes, technologies and monitoring, as well as verification schemes,” he said.

“Appropriate government policy, including funding initiatives and other enabling mechanisms, is fundamental to the successful development, demonstration and deployment of new technologies.”

“The Victorian Government’s additional funding means that new experiments will proceed at Otway.”

During the past 10 years, the Otway Project has injected and stored more than 60,000 tonnes of CO2 in a depleted gas reservoir deep underground near Warrnambool in Victoria. In the lead up to the National CCS Conference, Commonwealth Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane launched Geologically Storing Carbon: Learning from the Otway Project Experience.

The book is testimony to the work of more than 100 researchers and represents the successful cooperation of federal and state governments, Australian and international industry, and the global research community.