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The challenge

A decarbonisation blueprint

The plentiful resources of northern Australia make the region an energy export and a regional decarbonisation powerhouse. The Northern Territory has abundant natural gas and solar resources, significant carbon dioxide (CO2) storage capacity, and proximity to international markets. At the same time, the NT Government — which has officially adopted a 2050 net-zero emissions target — is looking to identify ways to rapidly decarbonise existing energy supplies whilst attracting future zero-emission industries.

Our response

A new collaboration to assess future opportunities in the Top End

CSIRO is leading a collaboration that will develop a business case to assess the viability of a large-scale Low-Emission Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) Hub, based on Darwin's Middle Arm peninsula in the Northern Territory. We have partnered with the NT Government, and brought together an initial group of key industry and engineering companies, including INPEX, Santos, Woodside, Eni, Origin Energy and Xodus.

The aim of the Hub will be to reduce existing emissions significantly, by acting as a catalyst to new net-zero industries to continue beyond the energy transition. It will also enable the development of an interconnected hydrogen industry, and the use of captured carbon in other industrial processes, such as the production of non-fossil-fuel alternatives for transportation.

The Low Emissions CCUS Hub would be based on Darwin's Middle Arm Peninsular in the NT. Image: Wayne Zerbe

If realised, the Northern Territory Low Emission CCUS Hub will be one of the largest multi-user, multi-access hubs globally. It will involve close collaboration between the Northern Territory and Australian governments, a diverse range of industry research agencies like CSIRO, engineering and technology companies, and foreign governments.

Why the Northern Territory? Darwin is a gateway to South-East Asia and the location of globally significant liquid natural gas (LNG) export and industrial activity. One of the aims of the business case is to identify a transition pathway for industry in the region by sharing knowledge and experience that will help improve the likelihood of success.

The Hub could also be key to the establishment of the NT Government's Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct, which is being developed into a globally competitive location for low-emission petrochemical, renewable hydrogen, and minerals processing.

By taking a collaborative and regional view, an accelerated and sustainable industry transition can be explored.

Opportunities for CO2 utilisation in the Northern Territory Report

The NTLEH is exploring opportunities for CO2 utilisation in the NT as part of the integrated low emission industrial ecosystem. The 2023 Opportunities for CO2 Utilisation in the Northern Territory report explores five opportunities for COutilisation including, methanol, jet fuel, methane, urea and mineral carbonates.

An exploratory report prepared to inform the development of the Northern Territory Low Emissions Hub Business Case.

This report builds on CSIRO’s 2021 CO2 Utilisation Roadmap and explores opportunities for integrating COutilisation applications into a low emission industrial hub in the Northern Territory. 

Download the report

Our role

CSIRO is uniquely placed to drive the technology and collaboration necessary to develop a business case for the NT Low Emissions CCUS Hub. We have close partnerships with industry and the NT and Australian governments, and we have expertise across key industry sectors, including carbon capture utilisation and storage and hydrogen. For instance, we recently released the CO2 Utilisation Roadmap and we are leading Australia’s research in the clean hydrogen industry.

We have invested to accelerate the development of a robust business case for government and industry investment. We will do this by providing impartial scientific advice, coordinating the development of detailed concept designs, building international linkages, and conducting geological research and economic and customer studies.

The business case will apply best practice learnings from international low-emission industrial hub projects. It will also consider all technology solutions and engage with industry and community stakeholder groups as we navigate the transition pathway to a low-emissions future.

See the CSIRO and partners scope NT Hub to lower emissions and boost investment media release for quotes from the different partners.

This is a infographic showing a picture of Australia and a vision of how a Low Emissions CCUS Hub in the Northern Territory could work.

The infographic for the NT Low Emissions Hub shows the different components of a potential hub that are separated into three main areas: Hydrogen (H2) generation and transport; CO2 Emissions and transport and the CO2 Hub.

This includes:

  •  A CO2 Hub with three phrases of Geological Stores, and import facility and an international connection.
  • A Hydrogen Export hub (H2 Export) and connected H2 hub with SMR and Electrolysis
  • LNG Export
  • Renewable electricity
  • Utilisation Industries: Chemical feedstocks, high intensity agriculture, high intensity aquaculture, transport and other uses
A vision of the Low Emissions CCUS Hub in the Northern Territory

For more information on the Low Emissions CCUS Hub, please contact us.

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