Home / News and Events / Media Releases / GNS joins greenhouse gas group

GNS joins greenhouse gas technology group - 29/06/2004

Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd (GNS) has formed a consortium with coal producer Solid Energy and electricity generator Genesis Power to investigate ways of burying carbon dioxide produced from the use of fossil fuels.

Huntly power station

The New Zealand consortium will contribute A$1.75 million over the next seven years to the Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies. Under the CRC programme, the Australian government matches research funding dollar-for-dollar.

Capture and storage of carbon dioxide in deep geological formations will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enable New Zealand industry to meet the New Zealand government's Kyoto Protocol obligations.

The technology involves separating carbon dioxide from power plants, compressing it into a liquid and injecting it deep underground where it can remain safely for many thousands of years.

The aim of the Australian programme is to investigate CO2 capture and storage and develop innovative technologies that will allow industry to reduce CO2 emissions in an environmentally sustainable way that is also economic. The programme also aims to develop new commercial energy options, such as hydrogen energy.

As well as involving Australian and New Zealand researchers, the CRC programme will link to parallel research programmes in Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, Britain and the US. Support from industry is extensive and includes Shell, BP, ChevronTexaco, Woodside, Rio Tinto, and BHP Billiton.

Genesis Power intends trialling a new filter system to capture carbon dioxide at its 1000MW Huntly coal generation plant. The captured CO2 may then be stored deep underground.

New Zealand's storage potential is vast, GNS Hydrocarbons Section Manager David Darby says.

"As well as depleted oil and gas fields, there are deep saline aquifers and unmineable coal seams. Carbon dioxide storage may even lead to enhanced oil and gas production from depleting hydrocarbon fields."

The oil and gas exploration industry has, for many decades, used injection of liquid carbon dioxide as a way of maintaining pressure in depleting fields.

GNS researchers will contribute new skills to the CRC, including expertise in complex petroleum reservoirs, active faulting, and risk assessment. In turn, the New Zealand investment will be enormously leveraged to resolve issues such as identifying the best sites for subsurface storage in New Zealand's complex geological environment.

" Globally, C02 sequestration is one of the hottest topics in geosciences. GNS's involvement in this rapidly developing field is an exciting development that has the potential to deliver significant benefits for New Zealand," Dr Darby says.

For more information visit: www.co2crc.com.au