There are a range of industries that are difficult to decarbonise with renewable technologies alone. These industries often rely on fossil fuels as a building block for thousands of everyday carbon-based products such as plastics, aviation fuel and chemicals. Others have carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions inherent in their processes, such as when making steel and cement.
To reduce emissions from these industries we need to consider every method and tool available, one such tool is carbon capture and utilisation (CCU).
A roadmap for carbon capture and utilisation in Australia
CCU provides the opportunity for Australia to capture CO2 from emissions or the atmosphere and convert it into valuable lower or zero emissions products. CO2 is already utilised in several industries, including directly in the food and beverage industry or indirectly, through the manufacture of urea, a feedstock for fertilisers.
Expanding CCU creates opportunities to reduce CO2 emissions from the production of chemicals, fuels and a variety of building materials and products. Some products are even able to lock away CO2 permanently. In the long term, this can support the transition to lower-emission products and processes.
CSIRO’s CO2 Utilisation Roadmap, through extensive national and international consultation, modelling and analysis, and with industry and government support, explores how Australia can scale-up its use of CCU.
The Roadmap identifies four opportunity areas for Australia to pursue: direct use of CO2, mineral carbonation, conversion of CO2 to create chemicals and fuels, and biological conversion.
Australia can build on past successes and comparative advantages to position itself as a leader in CCU, but it requires action.
To that end, the Roadmap proposes key recommendations to support scale-up of CCU and requires collaboration across Australian industry, government and the research community.
As awareness of CCU is emerging in Australia, the Roadmap also aims to be the start of a broader conversation about CO2 utilisation; to expand thinking, guide investment and communicate trade-offs between different CCU applications.
Download the CO2 Utilisation Roadmap