A new research centre which will look at how to trap emissions from carbon heavy energy sources opens in Australia today.
The Peter Cook Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Research Centre is sponsored by mining giant Rio Tinto with A$3million (£2m) over three years.
The country relied on coal for nearly half of its power supply as recently as 2009 according to IEA statistics. The Prime Minister Julia Gillard brought in a strict new carbon tax earlier this year.
Doug Ritchie, Rio Tinto Chief Executive Energy, suggested today’s news would be key for the country given its coal-dominated energy sector.
He said: “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”, he said, “but it needs further development and commercialisation.”
The firm will also put another A$3million into Australia’s first demonstration of geological carbon dioxide storage, The CO2CRC Otway Project, which will be used as a field site for carbon storage research.