The CSIRO has launched a new $20 million research program focussed on carbon capture and removal as part of its Future Science Platforms.
The CarbonLock FSP will develop “negative emissions technologies” (NETs) according to a statement from the national science agency on Tuesday, which would play a role in the country’s ambitions to reach net zero emissions.
“NETs are critical to Australia’s goal of reaching net-zero emissions because they offer a promising pathway to limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels,” said Dr Andrew Lenton, Director of the new program.
“CarbonLock is focused on developing the next generation of permanent carbon storage to complement research already undertaken in nature-based carbon storage solutions and geological Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).”
Direct air capture of carbon dioxide would also be explored by CarbonLock. Lenton added that this would include new materials, including their development by artificial intelligence, to speed up DAC.
“We are also examining the immense potential of in-situ mineral carbonation which involves turning carbon dioxide into stone by reacting atmospheric carbon with rock to form new rock – an area where Australia has a huge advantage,” he said.
The announcement follows news last month that Canberra-based startup MCi Carbon — which is commercialising capture of industrial emissions to make building materials — had gained its first commercial customer, refractory materials maker RHI Magnesita.