How the CTSCo Project can help deliver a net-zero emissions future
Australia’s first full-scale demonstration of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) on a coal-fired power plant.
Why is the project being undertaken?
In the move towards a net-zero carbon emissions future, CCUS is a critical, proven technology. And we are now at a new point in the LET timeline – implementation. Projects are no longer about the viability of the technology, but rather how well it can be used at scale.
As a guide, globally there are currently 26 operational, large-scale CCUS facilities, with three more under construction and another 34 in development. That adds up to the capacity to capture, store and use more than 100 million tonnes of CO2 each year.
The Carbon Transport and Storage Company (CTSCo) Project is designed to establish a complete capture-to-storage value chain, demonstrate the safe storage of CO2 and in turn build the foundations of Australia's first carbon hub.
“The CTSCo Project provides key critical infrastructure necessary to reduce and remove existing and future sources of industrial emissions and unlock opportunities for new, clean industries,” says LETA CEO Mark McCallum.
The project – which has been running for over 10 years with the support of natural resources company Glencore, LETA and the Australian Government – is now deployment-ready.
Where is the project located?
Glencore’s CTSCo Project is located in Queensland’s Surat Basin – one of Australia's largest areas of relatively-untapped energy resources.
The Surat Basin covers approximately 300,000 square kilometres from central southern Queensland to central northern New South Wales. However, the project is focused on carbon capture activity in the central southern Queensland area of the basin, over 400 kilometres west of Brisbane.
The 2009 Carbon Storage Taskforce’s National Carbon Mapping and Infrastructure Plan – Australia report identified the Surat Basin as a key geostorage area. The report found almost three billion tonnes of theoretical CO2 storage potential is available in the area.
This is thanks to sandstone formations which provide the suitable geological conditions to allow long-term storage of large quantities of captured CO2.
What are the project aims?
The project will create the key infrastructure and processes to reduce and remove existing and future sources of industrial CO2 emissions – unlocking opportunities for new clean industries.
It involves several milestones:
- Feasibility, front-end engineering and design studies (already completed).
- Construction and operation of a 110,000 tonne per annum post-combustion capture (PCC) plant to be retrofitted at the Millmerran Power Station (currently underway to ensure the station can successfully integrate the plant).
- Injection of captured CO2 into a saline reservoir within CTSCo’s EPQ10 greenhouse gas tenement – one of the largest land-based CCUS tenements in Australia. This includes ensuring safe road transport from the power station to the reservoir.
- Making captured CO2 available for CCUS and/or enhanced oil recovery (EOR) to help improve fuel security.
- Verification of how much CO2 is stored at the reservoir and how much storage space is remaining – as well as the measurement of storage efficiency – using a permanent buried seismic array and a monitoring well.
- Ensuring the injection well infrastructure is designed for both injection at the scale required for demonstration, as well as at large scale for commercial injection of CO2.
It is the successful achievement of these milestones and the appropriate environmental approvals that will help to demonstrate the safe and efficient capture, transport, use and storage of over 120,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.
Captured and stored carbon dioxide can be made ready for use by either industrial customers in Toowoomba, Brisbane or Gladstone; or for EOR at the nearby Moonie oil fields.
Who is responsible for the project?
CTSCo is owned by Glencore, one of the world’s largest diversified natural resource companies.
The work being undertaken has received significant funding from LETA and the Australian Government. LETA has pledged to invest more than $100 million to the project, and has representation on the Project Oversight Committee.
The project has also received financial support for separate research and development projects from Australian National Low Emissions Coal Research and Development (ANLEC R&D).
Why is the success of the CTSCo Project important?
Above all else, CTSCo is about proving the safety, suitability and opportunity of CCUS being used at scale in Australia to both lower emissions and unlock a low carbon economy.
CTSCo is also a key building block in opening up Queensland’s Surat Basin Region - which has coal and gas-fired stations operating alongside other significant industries — as a hub for CCUS.
The Queensland Carbon Hub will provide secure, safe and permanent CO2 storage for emissions-intensive industries in Queensland, South Australia and NSW. It will also attract new carbon-based industries.
By doing so, it will prove the potential of the region to store almost 3 billion tonnes of CO2 in the region, as well as clearly demonstrate economic, employment and investment potential. Carbon hubs are being encouraged by international organisations such as the IEA and Global CCS Institute, with similar hubs operating and being developed in the UK, Netherlands and Norway.
Current plans are for Glencore’s CTSCo Project to be ready to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions by 2023.
For more information visit ctsco.com.au
 The PCC plant will operate for three years.