The federal government will inject $25 million into a major carbon capture and storage (CCS) research project based in Victoria.
Australian scientists, academics and industry professionals will collaborate to further improve CCS technology.
Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane said the funding was for the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC), which was globally recognised for its work on CCS at its Otway geological storage test facility.
“The grant ensures that this critical research continues for five more years and we expect to see important technological improvements to CCS modelling, monitoring and verification as a result,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“The end goal is the wide scale deployment of an effective system for capturing carbon dioxide and storing it safely underground.”
Mr Macfarlane said funding the scientific research into CCS is a sensible investment in the nation’s future, given Australia’s reliance on coal-fired electricity and the abundance of fossil fuels.
“The Australian Government has a technology neutral approach to energy policy with a wide range of energy sources competing on a level playing field.
“This stance allows Australia to take advantage of new technologies that can contribute to the reliable, sustainable and affordable supply of energy.
“National energy policy should facilitate the market deployment of all possible options and a commercially viable CCS solution would help secure a prosperous future for Australia.
“Australia has world leading CCS projects underway as well as developing new processes for converting coal mine methane to energy.
This funding for the CO2CRC Otway project underlines the Australian government’s support for CCS and low emissions technologies in Australia.”
Mr Macfarlane said the government’s 2015 Energy White Paper is now being finalised.
This would result in economy-wide reforms, he said.
“Encouraging innovation like this $25 million in new technology funding will not only help to cut emissions but also drive efficiencies and productivity which will help to put downward pressure on electricity prices.
“Australia has the potential to be an energy and resources superpower but it is important to assure investors that Australia is ‘open for business’ and to have clear and predictable policy settings.”