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1 June 2013

NGL beginning to take shape

Almost eight months since its funding was announced, the National Geosequestration Laboratory (NGL) has made significant steps towards establishing itself as one of the world’s leading R&D providers in the field of carbon storage, and geoscience more broadly.

Major equipment upgrades and laboratory enhancements to the Australian Resources Research Centre (ARRC) and construction of a new world-class CO₂ research facility at The University of Western Australia will shortly commence, adding to the recent installation of a state-of-the-art micro CT scanner at Curtin University. Both education powerhouses are NGL partners, along with CSIRO, and the new facilities will complement the extensive research expertise offered by the three organisations.

The progress comes amidst a report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) this week which emphasised the increasing difficulty of limiting a global temperature increase to 2°C, and the important role to be played by carbon capture and storage (CCS).

“CCS is part of a portfolio of solutions that will help Australia and the world to achieve large cuts in emissions, while continuing to satisfy our growing energy needs,” said Dr Linda Stalker, NGL Science Director.

“There is no single solution, but CCS has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by removing large quantities of CO₂ that would normally be released into the atmosphere, and instead storing it safely deep underground.

“It is a technology that can be safe and effective for our climate, health and environment. However, as pointed out by the IEA in its report this week (Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map), a significant increase in CCS capacity is required if it is to have a meaningful impact on global emissions.”

The NGL is already providing initial scientific research behind the South West CO2 Geosequestration Hub project, which is funded through the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Initiative, and examining the potential for large-scale carbon capture and storage in the south-west of Western Australia.

The study area has the potential to store up to 240 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in the Lesueur rock formation, and the NGL is working closely with the Western Australian Government to determine the feasibility of the site.

“Assessing the suitability of the area has been very much a stage-gated process, where each individual requirement must be met before proceeding to the next stage,” Dr Stalker said.

“The area is undergoing a rigorous assessment and so far the signs have been positive, but it’s still early days in the overall process.”

The NGL is being established through $48.4 million in funding from the Federal Government’s Education Investment Fund, and builds on the successes of the Western Australian Energy Research Alliance.

As well as gaining access to world-class equipment and facilities, organisations that partner with NGL can take advantage of some of the finest geoscience capability in the country.

If you would like to find out more about partnering with NGL, please contact us.

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