Last week Australia launched what was called the Southern Hemisphere's first large-scale geosequestration project. The media release further suggests it is one of the one of the most comprehensive commercial scale carbon dioxide storage projects on the world stage.
The Co-operative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (a public-private partnership) believe they can pump 100,000 tonnes of CO2 into a depleted natural gas reservoir two kilometres beneath farmland, about four hours west of Melbourne, Victoria. All this for the paltry sum of $40 million AUD. Unfortunately that money is just to test the process with naturally occurring carbon dioxide and methane. It will not, alas, be storing the byproduct of that state’s coal fired power plants.According to the chief of the research group it will be about 10 years before we’ll be doing that. Dr Peter Cook then drops this clanger, "You wouldn't (use carbon storage) with a 40-year-old plant, but you might do it with a 20-year-old plant." Too costly apparently for older style plants.
Seems other commercial sized geo-sequestration projects are happening in Norway, Canada and Algeria but this Australian version, known as the Otway Project, near the rural city of Warrnambool, will have the world’s most comprehensive subsurface carbon dioxide monitoring program. To check, we assume, that none of the CO2 is escaping its underground jail. ::CO2CRC, via The Age.
PS. Ironically, on the other side of Warrnambool is an example of another way we could be investing that $40 million--renewable energy. Australia’s largest wind farm can be found at Codrington. But we’ll save that story for another day.