WA’s energy sector stands to benefit from a push to carbon capture as Australia moves towards a net zero future, a new report from the nation’s top science body says. The CSIRO yesterday released a paper that highlighted opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and outlined industries that could emerge from the shift.
No single technology would take Australia to net zero emissions, according to the report’s co-author, CSIRO Futures associate director Vivek Srinivasan, which was especially true when looking at industries heavily reliant on carbon given batteries and hydrogen were not yet ready to step up. Industries and products such as heavy and long-haul transport and steel, cement and plastics manufacturing that inherently required carbon, were responsible for about 16 per cent of Australia’s emissions in 2019, Mr Srinvasan said combatting emissions within this group was a particular challenge.
He said one solution was converting carbon into chemicals and fuels by taking advantage of Australia’s emerging hyrogen industry. Carbon dioxide captured from industrial process waste, or directly from the atmosphere, could be converted into products. One use within reach, Mr Srinivasan said, was mineral carbonation.
Converted carbon with minerals can be combined and then added to building materials that are traditionally fossil-fuel dependent. It can be added to cement and concrete, as well as in making roads, chemicals and fire-retardant building materials. “Mineral carbonation can be competitive in the near-term” Mr Srinivasan said “It will be expensive given the hydrogen price, but by bringing down the cost with more production, we can be more competitive.
“What we need is really cheap renewable hydrogen and that will help make those opportunities economic.”