A new report from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, has explored the potential for carbon capture and utilisation to support decarbonisation and economic growth in the Northern Territory (NT).
CSIRO has just delivered the “Opportunities for CO2 Utilisation in the Northern Territory” report to the NT Government and industry stakeholders to help inform the business case for a Northern Territory Low Emission Hub (NTLEH).
CO2 utilisation is the process of using CO2 captured from industrial emissions or directly from the atmosphere to manufacture products.
CSIRO scientist Dr Andrew Ross said carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) was one of a number of critical pathways for the NT to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
“The proposed NT Low Emissions Hub could reduce existing emissions significantly by supporting the creation of new net-zero industries to continue beyond the energy transition,” Dr Ross said.
“We identified five CO2 utilisation opportunities that could enable low-emission manufacturing and generate value for the NT’s economy: methanol, jet fuel, urea, methane and mineral carbonates.
"The research examines the considerations and requirements of scaling up these opportunities over the short-to-long term to inform decision-making on the future hub," he said.
Techno-economic analysis conducted for the report found that CO2-derived products are currently more expensive than their conventionally-produced equivalents. However, all products have significant cost-reduction potential due to technological improvements, feedstock affordability, and economies of scale.
“In tandem, we need to continue exploring other emissions reduction alternatives at pace and at large scale, including geosequestration, if we are to meet Australia’s net zero targets.” Dr Ross said.
The report found the NT’s existing liquefied natural gas industry, export links with the Asia-Pacific region and high renewable electricity potential, position it well to create valuable CO2-derived products that can support emissions abatement objectives, particularly for ‘hard-to-abate’ industries such as the aviation sector.
The report builds on CSIRO’s 2021 CO2 Utilisation Roadmap.
Download the “Opportunities for CO2 Utilisation in the Northern Territory” report.