14 August 2012
Rio Tinto supports new research into carbon capture and storage
Australian research into carbon capture and storage (CCS) has taken a major step forward today with the launch of The Peter Cook Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage Research by the Hon. Michael O'Brien, Victorian Minister for Resources and Energy.
The Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) is sponsored by Rio Tinto with $3 million in funding over 3 years.
A further $3 million in Rio Tinto funding over the subsequent 3 years will support the CO2CRC Otway Project, Australia's first demonstration of geological carbon dioxide storage, as a field site for carbon storage research.
Rio Tinto Energy chief executive Doug Ritchie said today's announcement was an important one for Australian science.
"Rio Tinto believes carbon capture and storage will be a significant technology globally, and one with a particular resonance for Australia given the role of coal as our major source of electric power, and our position as a major international supplier of fossil fuels.
"CCS will be the only way of decarbonising significant sectors of the global economy such as power generation and steel and cement manufacture but it needs further development and commercialisation. Rio Tinto is proud to contribute $6 million to this project. There are very few projects in the world that are game changers in CCS. The CO2CRC Otway Project is one of them," Mr Ritchie said.
CO2CRC chief executive Dr Richard Aldous said "The Peter Cook Centre for CCS Research will integrate CO2CRC research capabilities at the University of Melbourne, forming a world class hub for research into this important technology.
"The Centre brings together professors and researchers from a wide variety of disciplines, including the chemical and process engineering associated with capturing CO2 from power plants, and the geology and geomechanics required for storage of carbon dioxide in deep rock formations.
"The complementary work at the Otway Project is helping develop the tools and methods to ensure CO2 is safely stored and monitored. Building this kind of critical mass in an Australian research centre is vital to the national development and deployment of large-scale CCS, which will be a major part of Australia and the world's drive to manage climate change," Dr Aldous said.
Incorporating extensive research already underway at the University of Melbourne, the Peter Cook Centre for CCS Research will initially host over 30 scientists working on CCS, including a recently funded Professor of Carbon Storage supported by the Victorian Government.
The Centre, named for the eminent geologist and founder of CO2CRC Professor Peter Cook, will link researchers with the CO2CRC Otway Project Subsurface Storage Laboratory, which has been safely storing carbon dioxide deep underground since 2008.
Victoria is a natural location for development of CCS, as the future of the State's large brown coal reserves is dependent on new low emission technologies. Victoria also has significant offshore CCS storage potential.
CO2CRC collaborates with leading international and national CCS experts to conduct world-class research into carbon capture and storage. Organisations participating in CO2CRC research include CSIRO, Geoscience Australia, the Universities of Adelaide, Curtin, Melbourne, Monash, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia, GNS Science (NZ), Simon Fraser University (Canada) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (USA). Industry and State core partners supporting CO2CRC are ANLEC R&D, Anglo American, BG Group, BHP Billiton, BP Australia, Brown Coal Innovation Australia, Chevron, INPEX, NSW Trade & Investment, KIGAM, Ministry of Science and Innovation (NZ), QER, QLD Department of Mines and Energy, Rio Tinto, Sasol, Shell, Stanwell, Total, the Victorian Department of Primary Industries, WA Department of Mines and Petroleum and Xstrata.
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About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and New York Stock Exchange listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, thermal and metallurgical coal, uranium, gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide and salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world and are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.
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