Canberra, July 11 : Coal generated carbon dioxide (CO2) has been captured for the first time in Australia.
CO2 has been captured from power station flue gases in a post-combustion-capture (PCC) pilot plant at Loy Yang Power Station in Victoria's Latrobe Valley.
According to CSIRO Energy Technology Chief, Dr David Brockway, the milestone followed the Garnaut Report's recognition that Australia has an important role to play in developing low emission coal technologies such as PCC.
"PCC uses a liquid to capture CO2 from power station flue gases and can potentially reduce CO2 emissions from existing and future coal-fired power stations by more than 85 per cent," he said.
"Coal is the primary fuel for over 80 percent of Australia's current power supply. It's what turns the lights on in most homes. So, we need to find ways to make it a cleaner energy source," according to Brockway.
"This is the first time anyone in the Southern Hemisphere has captured CO2 using the PCC process at a power station and we are thrilled we've been able to prove this technology," he added.
The 10.5 metre-high pilot plant is designed to capture up to 1000 tonnes of CO2 per annum from the power station's exhaust-gas flues.
Future trials will involve the use of a range of different CO2-capture liquids.
CSIRO is undertaking similar PCC research at Munmorah near NSW and Beijing, China, and is negotiating the installation of another pilot plant at a Queensland site.
According to Loy Yang Power Chief Executive Ian Nethercotem, "Climate change is a key issue for Australia and we're delighted to be part of finding a solution to this global challenge."