A roadmap released by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) lays out opportunities for Australia to reduce carbon emissions by using emerging carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) technologies.

The roadmap, entitled the CO2 Utilisation Roadmap, explores the potential for Australia’s food and beverages industry to be supported by new CCU technologies and how these developments could help create zero or low carbon building products and materials.

In addition, the report explored the possibility for Australia to become a major player in the export of low emissions chemicals and fuels.

Larry Marshall, Chief Executive, CSIRO, commented on the opportunity for Australia to push towards a lower emissions future, saying, “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.”

“The development and demonstration oh 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.”

With hard-to-abate fossil fuel emissions still heavily present within industries such as cement, steel, plastics and heavy transport and contributing to around a third of global emissions, it’s understood that renewable technologies alone will not be enough to support the total reduction of the industry’s emissions.

CCU technologies can capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the waste streams of industrial processes, or directly from the atmosphere, and turn it into products such as synthetic fuels, food and beverages, chemicals, and building materials.

Commenting on Australia’s placement within the CCU sector, Vivek Srinivasan, Associate Director, CSIRO Futures, said, “Our analysis shows that Australia is well positioned to capitalise on the CCU opportunity and become a leader in this emerging area.”

“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.”

Considering multiple relevant areas such as international and national consultation and modelling, CSIRO’s roadmap is set to help support Australia reduce CO2 emissions and support its investment in hydrogen for a net-zero emission future.