CCUS technology in the spotlight for the transition to clean energy
Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) is the key to meet net-zero carbon emissions targets, according to APPEA.
At the Australian CCUS Conference held in August, APPEA chief executive officer Andrew McConville said CCUS could be the key to safely and permanently reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas industry.
“We deal in the real world,” Mr McConville said. “Demand for our product is continuing to grow, especially in developing countries looking to provide their citizens with reliable, affordable and cleaner energy for the first time.
“Oil and gas is an irreplaceable energy source. Currently, our industry already provides more than half the world’s energy, is an essential input to make the everyday products we take for granted in our modern life and, in most cases, there is no substitute for oil and gas.
“CCUS is one of those ways where we can get the world to net-zero faster while also providing our global population access to affordable, secure energy.”
The International Energy Agency, in its Net Zero by 2050 report, said CCUS was an important emissions reduction technology that could be applied across the energy system.
According to the report, CCUS tackled emissions from existing energy assets, provided solutions in some of the sectors where emissions were hardest to reduce, supported the rapid scaling up of low-emissions hydrogen production, and enabled some CO² to be removed from the atmosphere.
It said CCUS followed the reduction in the use of fossil fuels.
“(Fossil fuel use) falls from almost four-fifths of total energy supply today to slightly over one-fifth by 2050,” the report said.
“Fossil fuels that remain in 2050 are used in goods where the carbon is embodied in the product such as plastics, in facilities fitted with CCUS, and in sectors where low-emissions technology options are scarce.”
In a webinar on the benefits of CCUS, Global CCS Institute principal consultant David Kearns said that CCS had big implications for Australia’s blue hydrogen industry.
“At the moment, CCUS is providing the opportunity for lowest-cost clean hydrogen production,” Mr Kearns said.
“Steam methane reformation is the conventional way of producing hydrogen from natural gas. It has been used in oil refining for a long time and is also a way that we can produce hydrogen in a decarbonized fashion by coupling it with CCUS.
“Costs vary at the moment depending on the cost of the feedstock, but we’re seeing an average of USD$1.50-$2.50 per kilogram; considerably cheaper than electrolysis.”
Hazer Group aims to use the carbon it emits in the steam methane hydrogen process to create graphite, a material used to create lithium-ion batteries, through its Hazer Process.
The Hazer Process converts natural gas and similar feedstocks into hydrogen and high-quality graphite, using iron ore as a process catalyst.
Graphite produced during the Hazer Process compares to the high-end commercial forms of graphite used in lithium-ion batteries and is considered to have less environmental damage.
The Process would allow Hazer to produce graphite without needing to excavate mass areas of land, unlike natural graphite extraction, or using harsh chemicals such as petroleum coke to create synthetic graphite.
Earlier this month, the company raised $7 million to assist with research and development into the use of the graphite it produces.
Hazer Group chairman Tim Goldsmith said the company expected to complete the Hazer Commercial Demonstration Project in Q1 2022.
“This remains a key milestone to advance Hazer into the next stage of our development,” Mr Goldsmith said.
“There is enormous demand for emerging technologies such as the Hazer Process and we are committed to ensuring we position Hazer to capture this.”