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A word from the CEO

Carbon Removal

Hydrogen future impossible without storage

Welcome to our first newsletter of the new year.

Energy storage is an often-discussed but barely understood building block in the transition to a lower-carbon economy.

No matter how many renewable energy projects are built over the next six years, the intermittency of wind and solar means that achieving Australia’s 82% renewable energy target by 2030 – and keeping the lights on – is impossible without large scale storage.

The storage discussion typically focusses on the potential and limitations of batteries and pumped hydro projects, but as CO2CRC reservoir engineer Scott Higgs has written recently underground hydrogen storage is the most attractive large-scale energy storage solution – and will likely be so for years.

CO2CRC is doing world-leading proof-of-concept work at the Otway International Test Centre.  This puts Australia in the box seat to lead in the production, storage and potentially use of hydrogen.

Field-scale underground hydrogen storage (UHS) demonstrations and pilot projects in Europe have begun injection of pure hydrogen, while in Australia several pre-feasibility studies of UHS have been completed.

But hydrogen storage has one major problem: there is not enough hydrogen available to make it viable.

Our team is ready to go on the geological and technological aspects of hydrogen storage but we’re still miles away from being able to purchase enough hydrogen to start a trial.

Hydrogen projects are widely promised but so far not delivered. Green hydrogen particularly is far from cost competitive with other energy sources, and optimism that innovation and investment will drive that cost down quickly is fading. There has also been growing interest in naturally-occurring hydrogen, with the recent successful drilling of the first wells in Australia to specifically explore for this resource – but we are a long way off knowing when this will be viable at scale.

So right now, we simply do not know where real volumes of hydrogen will come from, when they will be delivered or how much that will cost.

CO2CRC is encouraging government and industry to more directly address this challenge.

The Federal Government’s Hydrogen Headstart program – which will direct $2 billion to some of the six projects it shortlisted in December – is a good initiative, but all the shortlisted projects combined would produce a fraction of hydrogen required to truly kickstart our hydrogen economy.

I’m not suggesting hydrogen won’t happen, but we need a sharper focus on the technological and commercial hurdles to be cleared to make the market real.

That will be focus of our second Underground Hydrogen Storage Industry Workshop

to be held in Melbourne’s Stamford Plaza Hotel on 22 February. The workshop, which can also be accessed virtually, has a theme “From desktop to demonstration: Delivering UHS in Australia.”

That’s a process in which CO2CRC is dedicated to playing a big part.


Dr Matthias Raab, CEO.


Seismic Monitoring Paper Published in International Journal

Hadi Nourollah scaled

Above: CO2CRC’s Underground Storage Manager Hadi Nourollah jointly authored a paper on ‘Feasibility of targeted active seismic monitoring of geological carbon storage using refracted waves’

The Curtain University team of Roman Pevzner and Boris Gurevich in collaboration with CO2CRC’s Hadi Nourollah have recently had their paper published in the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.

The paper titled, ‘Feasibility of targeted active seismic monitoring of geological carbon storage using refracted waves’, puts forward a methodology that can verify leakage (or lack of it) with minimal seismic activity. The proposed method is an economic alternative to full time-lapse seismic mapping of the CO2 plume to demonstrate “conformance”. It has potential application for hard-to-access CCS sites such as near shore areas.

CO2CRC, in collaboration with research partners, intend to verify the feasibility study in the field, in the upcoming shallow fault project.

Read the full paper.

Symposium Photo Gallery 2023

Symposium 2023 Photo 122Above: CO2CRC Chief Scientist Dr Geoff O’Brien, recipient of The Award for Excellence in Community Engagement Jane Burton Project Director CarbonNet and CO2CRC CEO Dr Matthias Raab.

Peruse Symposium photos from the 2023 CO2CRC CCS Symposium .

CO2CRC Photo 487 scaled

Drilling of New Monitoring Well at Otway International Test Centre Finalised

CO2CRC Limited Ltd has completed the successful drilling, coring, wireline logging, outside of casing fibre optic installation, and cementing of the deep CRC-8 well at the Otway International Test Centre (OITC). The CRC-8 well was spudded on November 27, 2023, and the rig was released on the 16th of December 2023, incident free. This continues over 20 years LTI free for CO2CRC. We thank inGauge Energy Pty Ltd, Schlumberger Land Rigs, SLB, COHO Resources Pty Ltd, Silixa, GR Production Services, CSIRO, Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE), GEOGLIDE, NOV, Cactus Wellhead, Carroll Group Australia, and everyone else that made the drilling a success. This project was undertaken with the support of Chevron Australia.CO2CRC’s Otway Stage 4 Program is launching a series of groundbreaking in field research projects at CO2CRC’s Otway International Test Centre from 2023-2027. Featuring two 10,000-tonne CO2 injections, our focus is on developing reservoir management technologies to increase the effectiveness of commercial-scale CO2 storage. Activities include field validation of crucial modelling workflows, assessments of storage optimisation techniques, and a demonstration of seismic and distributed strain sensing as innovative performance monitoring tools.CO2CRC’s mission is to accelerate the rollout of CCS as a means to materially reduce industrial CO2 emissions.

Follow CO2CRC today on LINKEDIN to keep up to date with the latest news on our ground-breaking demonstration and research projects.

CCUS fundamentals

CO2CRC - Courses Advanced Carbon Dioxide Storage

12 - 14 March 2024

CO2CRC is Australia’s leading research organisation in Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS). Designed for CO2 storage site project managers, senior geologists and engineers and delivered by CO2CRC’s world-class experts, this course focuses on building a high-performance CO2 storage site development team and enhancing individual subsurface storage skills.

At CO2CRC, effective education is the key to achieving a sustainable and low-carbon future. We are committed to empowering industry experts, policymakers, investors, bankers, super funds managers, scientists, and the general public, with the knowledge and tools needed to drive positive change.

Advance Storage Course takes place on the March 12 – 14 2023 and includes a visit to our Otway International Test Centre

Contact  Max Watson for more information on 0420 209 277.

CCS Fundamentals April 3 2024

CO2CRC is Australia’s leading research organisation in Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS). Our CCS Fundamentals Course will provide a full day interactive session with our experts to provide you with targeted knowledge on all things CCUS to upskill you or your team in CCUS.

Attendees will gain knowledge on the technical, geological, and economic aspects of CCUS and the invaluable opportunity to understand the applications and potential of CCUS in Australia and Internationally.

This one day course will be held face-to-face in Melbourne.

Underground Hydrogen Storage Industry Workshop

From desktop to demonstration: Delivering UHS in Australia

22nd FEBRUARY 2024

UHS pic

The role of hydrogen in Australia’s future domestic energy mix and as an export commodity is being increasingly acknowledged by industry and government. Subsurface geological formations offer large-scale, safe and cost-effective hydrogen storage.

Since the first Australian industry workshop was held in December 2022, there has been growing awareness of underground hydrogen storage (UHS). Field-scale UHS demonstrations and pilot projects in Europe have begun injection of pure hydrogen, while in Australia several pre-feasibility studies of UHS have been completed. There has also been growing interest in naturally occurring hydrogen, with the recent successful drilling of the first wells in Australia to specifically explore for this resource.

8.30am – 5.00pm (AEDT)
Stamford Plaza, Melbourne, VIC, 3000.
In-person attendance: $100*
Online attendance: $25*
*Prices exclude GST

Register Now

Open Day 2024 short version

Contact Us for More Details on the 2024 OITC Open Day

10 + 3 =

Carbon Removal

Energy Transition News

23-01-2023 ‘Drill, baby, drill!’ Trump 2.0 wouldn’t just kill the political climate – The Age. No single figure on earth could be a greater threat to its climate than a re-elected Donald Trump.

22-01/2023 Can Australia lead the climate tech charge and host COP31? – The Australian. Australia is a frontrunner to host the prestigious COP31 summit in 2026, should all the powers-that-be decide to take it on. But reaching this clean energy future and leading on climate action globally will require accelerating and scaling our own climate technologies.

22-01-2023 It is time to draw down carbon dioxide but shut down moves to play God with the climate – National Tribune. Tim Flannery says the global effort to keep climate change to safe levels – ideally within 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures – is moving far too slowly. And even if we stopped emitting CO² today, the long-term impacts of the gas already in the air would continue for decades. For these reasons, we will soon have to focus not only on halting but on reversing global warming.

22-01/2023 Emission impossible and the trade conundrum of calculating carbon – Financial Times. EU’s measurement method for its carbon border tax likely to become an international standard. One of the most basic questions remains unresolved: how you actually calculate emissions to plug into the tax-generating machine. All sorts of variations are possible: they can be measured at product, plant, company or national level, using direct or indirect emissions and so on.

22-01-2023 New Oxford Institute Study Examines What Is Needed To Scale Direct Air Capture – Carbon Herald. A new study published by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies is examining direct air capture and how to scale this novel technology. The study is called Scaling Direct Air Capture (DAC): A moonshot or the sky’s the limit?

19-01-2023 U.K. Bets On ‘$40 Billion’ Carbon Capture Tech, But Critics Say It’s Hot Air – Forbes. The U.K. government has placed a big bet on bioenergy, approving a plan this week to fit the country’s largest power station, Drax, with taxpayer-funded carbon capture technology that some analysts say could cost upward of $40 billion.

17-01-2023 Barossa one of the new projects pushing up carbon bill – AFR. Santos’ Barossa gas project is one of a slew of new liquefied gas and coal projects that will push gross carbon emissions covered by the Albanese government’s signature climate policy up 12 per cent before offsets. RepuTex analyst Anton Firth estimates Barossa will emit 19 MT CO₂ between its commencement in 2025 and 2030.

12-01-2023 Celanese kick-starts carbon capture project – Eco plastics in packaging. US-based chemicals producer Celanese Corporation has begun operating what is claims is one of the world’s largest carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) programmes from its site in Clear Lake, Texas. The project, which is part of Celanese’s Fairway Methanol joint venture with Japan-based Mitsui & Co, aims to capture 180,000 tonnes of industrial carbon dioxide…

12-01-2023 EU Plans Big Scale Up of Carbon Removals to Reach Climate Neutrality – Bloomberg. EU to unveil industrial carbon management strategy next month. Carbon removals will be part of Europe’s 2040 climate target

12-01-2023 Carbon removal: 27 years to create the world’s largest industry  – Energy Monitor. Think tank RMI talks about about its ground-breaking new research on carbon dioxide removal (CDR), laying out – for the first time anywhere – the status of all 32 known approaches to CDR.

12-01-2023 To reach net zero, we need to close the loop on combustion – Chemistry World. Carbon, carbon, everywhere, and all in the wrong carbon sink. With apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, this sums up the carbon quandary: on the one hand, we have too much carbon dioxide and methane from fossil fuel sources in our atmosphere. On the other hand, we may not have enough carbon from sustainable sources to drive our transition away from fossil fuels.

09-01-2023 Carbon capture and storage needed to move from aspiration to action on emissions reduction – The Australian. Op Ed from CO2CRC CEO Dr Matthias Raab.

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