Carbon Capture and Storage

What is Carbon Capture and Storage?

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is an emission reduction process designed to prevent large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) from being released into the atmosphere. The technology involves capturing CO2 produced by large industrial plants, compressing it for transportation and then injecting it deep into a rock formation at a carefully selected site, where it is permanently stored.

Although CCS is often referred to as a single idea, it involves the three major steps listed below and uses different types of technologies.

  1. Capture - CO2 is separated from other gases produced at facilities such as coal, natural gas and cement power plants, oil and gas refineries, and steel mills.
  2. Transport - CO2 is compressed to a ‘dense phase’ or liquid-like state to make it easier to transport to a suitable site for geological storage using pipelines.
  3. Injection and storage - CO2 is injected into underground rock formations, usually at depths of one kilometre or more. The formations into which CO2 is injected are deep rock formations that contain brines or water saltier than the ocean.

The porous rock formations are referred to as deep saline formations or saline reservoirs and they are almost always sedimentary rocks like sandstone or limestone. These rock formations offer secure space to permanently store CO2. They contain tiny pores capable of storing large quantities of CO2 trapped as small droplets.

Frequently asked questions on Carbon Storage.

South West Hub

The South West Hub CCS Project in Western Australia is Australia's first CCS Flagships project.

What is the South West Hub?

The South West Hub is a partnership between DMP and South West industry, to investigate the feasibility of permanently storing CO2 deep underground in the Lesueur Sandstone formation.

Where is it?

Geological scientists have identified an area in the Harvey and Waroona Shires as having excellent prospects as an injection site for the underground storage of CO2 in the Lesueur Sandstone formation.

Why here?

The Lesueur Sandstone target storage reservoir is closer to the surface in an area northwest of Harvey townsite than in surrounding areas. Due to a geological uplift in the sequence of strata, the Lesueur Sandstone lies between 1.4 and 3 kilometres underground and, importantly, the Yarragadee Aquifer was eroded away from this area millions of years ago.

How do I find out more about the South West Hub?

Detailed technical results, including Project research papers, are available online through Western Australian Petroleum and Geothermal Information Management System (WAPIMS) database. For assistance with accessing these documents go to: How to access documents on WAPIMS.

We recommend using Google Scholar when searching online for information about CCS.

 

Gorgon

Chevron Australia’s Gorgon Project will incorporate one of the world's largest CO2 injection projects. The Carbon Dioxide Injection Project will inject and store reservoir CO2 into a deep reservoir unit more than two kilometres beneath the ground – reducing Gorgon’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 40 per cent.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) carried out extensive modelling to confirm the project could safely store CO2. DMP has issued the project with a Pipeline Licence and will regulate the injection wells.

The project has been subject to extensive external review as part of an environmental impact assessment under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA) and four rounds of independent technical review by DMP.

The executive summaries of third and fourth round of the external review can be found on the Gorgon CO2 injection project page of the website.

Australian CCS demonstration

While the South West Hub is Australia's first CCS project supported by both government and industry, the storage part of CCS is also being trialled in another location on the opposite side of the country.

The CO2CRC Otway Project in Victoria is Australia's first demonstration of the deep geological storage of CO2.

Otway is the world's largest research and geosequestration demonstration project where more than 65,000 tonnes of CO2 has been injected and stored in a depleted gas reservoir.

The project is located in the heart of Victorian dairy country and is close to the Great Ocean Road and The Twelve Apostles tourist attractions.

For more information about the Otway Project, log onto the CO2CRC website or view the video.

Some frequently asked questions are answered in a report ‘What happens when CO2 is stored underground?’ published by the Petroleum Technology Research Centre.

CCS around the world

Carbon Capture and Storage technology is being successfully used in purpose-built and retrofitted industrial plants in countries around the world.

The Global Carbon and Capture Institute (GCCSI) keeps updated information about CCS projects. Find out more about these projects at the Global CCS Institute website.