According to research by the University of Queensland, carbon capture and storage (CCS) could be a good solution for a low carbon future in the Australian state.

Published last month, the study scopes the establishment of a large-scale CCS hub in southern Queensland, which showed the technology could significantly reduce the areas carbon emissions over the coming years.

Researchers found an annual 13 million tonne emission cut, the equivalent of taking 2.8 million cars of the road each year, could be achieved by retrofitting the states most modern existing baseload power plants with CCS technology.

Director of the project, University of Queensland Professor Andrew Garnett, said the scheme would need to commence almost immediately in order to reach its full potential, but would require a number of investments.

“Carbon capture and storage may be essential to buy us the significant amount of time required to develop reliable, affordable, low-carbon, baseload power and other decarbonisation technology,” Garnett explains. 

“This would allow us to continue to provide energy, while creating new employment and prolonging existing jobs in regional communities.”

Professor Garnett estimates that three to four years may be required to confirm the option as feasible, then another few years to set up the commercial venture and finalise engineering.

He points out that these stages could be followed by a phased, sequential build-out in several stages over several years, maintain a steady, regional employment stream while significantly cutting emissions.

“The next steps would be to gather more field data, consult with communities, carry out regulatory investigations and conduct a full feasibility study,” said Garnett.

“It’s conceivable that commercial scale, meaning of a scale which creates deep emissions cuts, capture and storage could commence around 2030, but we’d need to start the process now.”