Australia could turn carbon dioxide waste into a valuable revenue stream according to a new report from Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO.
The CO₂ Utilisation Roadmap explores the opportunities presented by emerging carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) technologies for Australia to support new industries and reduce carbon emissions.
The Roadmap identifies how emerging CCU technologies could be used to support growth opportunities in Australia’s food and beverages industry, the creation of zero or low carbon building products and materials, and position Australia for the export of low emissions chemicals and fuels.
CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said CCU technologies can help transition Australia towards a lower emissions future while creating economic growth.
“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,” Dr Marshall said.
“The development and demonstration of 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.”
Currently, industries such as cement, steel, plastics and heavy transport still rely on fossil fuels or have inherent emissions in their processes and are traditionally ‘hard to abate.’
These industries are unable to rely on renewable technologies alone and account for about a sixth of Australia’s emissions and around a third of global emissions.
CCU technologies capture CO₂ from the waste streams of industrial processes, or directly from the atmosphere, and convert it into useful new products, ranging from synthetic fuels to food and beverages, chemicals, and building materials.
Associate Director of CSIRO Futures Vivek Srinivasan said Australia is well-placed to lead in CCU technologies.
“Our analysis shows that Australia is well positioned to capitalise on the CCU opportunity and become a leader in this emerging area,” Mr Srinivasan said.
“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.”
The Roadmap draws on extensive national and international consultation, modelling and analysis to determine the key advantages, barriers, and considerations to support scale-up for identified areas of CCU opportunity for Australia.
By acting as a potential major user of hydrogen and helping to reduce CO₂ emissions, CCU complements CSIRO’s investment in Australia’s hydrogen and emissions reduction research through the Hydrogen Industry and Towards Net Zero Emissions Missions. CSIRO worked with government and industry to develop the CO₂ Utilisation Roadmap including the Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Woodside, Santos, BHP, Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers, APA Group, Mineral Carbonation International, the Victorian Government, KBR, Advisian, Australian Trade and Investment Commission and CO₂ Value Australia