Australian energy firm Woodside is collaborating with US technology developers to undertake an investigation into the viability of a carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) pilot facility in Perth, Western Australia.

As part of the study, ReCarbon’s technology will convert carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane into synthesis gas before LanzaTech technology ferments the synthesis gas into ethanol. 

The project reduces the reliance on land and water traditionally part of the manufacture of ethanol, in addition to reusing captured CO2. 

With the project currently in the front-end engineering design (FEED) phase, CCU was described by Meg O’Neill, CEO, Woodside, as an ‘exciting addition’ the portfolio. 

“What’s notable about CCU is the wider co-benefits. Some end products have a further decarbonisation benefit,” she added. “Products such as ethanol can be used as raw materials in the chemical manufacturing industry.” 

Under the Emissions Reduction Fund, Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator is currently leading a co-design process to develop a carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) method. 

Commenting on the potential for waste carbon, Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO, Lanzatech, said, “Waste carbon can be transformed into critical resources like ethanol without adding CO2 to the atmosphere.” 

In addition to a climate strategy involving the reduction of Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions, Woodside last year (2021) set a US$5bn investment target by 2030 for new energy products and lower-carbon alternatives.