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28 November 2014

New CO2 research facility at the forefront of carbon storage R&D

A new state-of-the-art, $10 million CO2 research facility was formally opened on 6 November at The University of Western Australia (UWA), as part of the National Geosequestration Laboratory (NGL).

The CO2 Lab building at The University of Western Australia at dusk

The CO2 Lab at The University of Western Australia is at the forefront of carbon storage R&D

Research at NGL’s new facility will be led by Winthrop Professor David Lumley, UWA Chair in Geophysics and Director of the UWA Centre for Energy Geoscience, and Winthrop Professor Eric May, Chevron Chair in Gas Process Engineering.

“The geological storage of man-made CO2, also called geosequestration, is a key strategy to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions entering the atmosphere and oceans,” said Professor Lumley.

“This new facility at UWA will enable scientists and engineers to undertake cutting-edge research into innovative techniques to efficiently capture, transport and store CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants, LNG facilities and other industrial sources, and develop solutions to help make long-term geological storage of CO2 a viable option for the global community,” he said.

The facility features advanced geophysical sensors and data analysis equipment, as well as chemical engineering labs, to support scientists and engineers undertaking research into new techniques to transport and store CO2.

“The brand new teaching laboratories within the CO2 research facility will be used to teach UWA students about the principles of CO2  capture, transport and processing. Approximately $500,000 have been invested over the last four years into new teaching equipment contained within the laboratory,” said Professor Eric May.

“This world-class facility will help the next generation of geophysicists, process engineers and other technical experts to develop the skills to meet the science and engineering challenges of energy and industrial projects across the globe,” he said.

“The CO2 Geosequestration Research Laboratory will be a significant drawcard for attracting international research talent and cooperation, helping Australia to build its capability and talent pool,” said UWA Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson, who formally opened the facility.

“UWA researchers along with collaborators through NGL and industry will conduct high-impact and strategically important research at the new facility.

“Their research is integral to the future of the Australian energy and resources industries and will deliver benefits around the world,” he said.

The opening of the new facility is a sign of NGL making significant steps towards establishing itself as one of the world’s leading R&D providers in CO2 storage, and geophysics and engineering more broadly.

NGL is a national, multi-site facility, supported by $48.4 million in funding from the Australian Government.

A collaboration between CSIRO, UWA and Curtin University, NGL is focused on delivering research and development solutions to enable commercial-scale storage of CO2.

Construction of the new CO2 Lab

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Australian Government Department of Education CSIRO The University of Western Australia Curtin University Western Australian Energy Research Alliance