Coal emissions to be recycled in beer

 

CARBON emissions from a Queensland coal-fired power station will be stored underground and recycled in beer and soft drinks in less than three years as part of an Australian-first project.

The Coal21 low emissions fund increased funding on Tuesday by several million dollars for a carbon capture plant at the Millmerran Power Station on the Darling Downs.

Coal21 boss Mark McCallum said the $150 million project would create Australia's first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) hub.

"Within about 2½ years from now, we'll be taking CO2 out of the plant that is equivalent to taking 25,000 cars off the road every year for the next 25 years," he said. Mr McCallum said the hub would work like a giant stove induction fan, sucking exhaust from the power plant and running it through a large sieve that would strip out the CO2 before it was cooled.

The extracted CO2 would then be pumped 2.5km down into the Earth's crust or recycled for industrial uses.

"There's a good market up in Queensland for carbon usage … you can use it in soft drink, beers, foods, abattoirs, industrial processes so all sorts of things are using CO2 and increasingly so," he said.

"We also want to use the CO2 to unlock the storage potential up in Queensland which is also massive."

Mr McCallum said once all commercial agreements were finalised for the project, a final investment decision would be made in June 2020 with construction, which should take about two years, due to start before the end of that year.

Mr McCallum said the demonstration project would cut about 5 per cent of carbon emissions from the plant, however it would create infrastructure that could be expanded to potentially reduce the plant's emissions by half.

"Even if you turned off every single coal and gas-powered station today, Australia would still have two-thirds of its emissions going into the atmosphere. This CCS solution is one that you can capture emissions from existing power systems, so gas or coal, and you can build brand new power stations on top of the storage locations so you can have essentially zero emissions power stations," he said.