The Otway Project in Victoria has demonstrated CO2 can be stored safely underground in Australia The Callide Oxyfuel Project in Queensland is the largest demonstration of oxyfuel technology in the world to date The IEA says CCS is a critical component in the portfolio of low-carbon technologies combating climate change The IEA expects CCS to contribute 14% of global emissions reduction by 2050 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says without CCS, the cost of reducing emissions to 2100 increases 138% Canada’s Boundary Dam – the first large scale CCS project in the power sector – began operation in October 2014 Since 1986, the Sleipner Project has been storing a million tonnes of CO2 per year in the North Sea

COAL21 activities

Callide Oxyfuel Project
Carbon Geostorage Initiative
CO2CRC Otway Project
Direct Injection Carbon Engine
NSW Storage Assessment Program
ZeroGen Project


Australian National Low Emissions Coal Research & Development conducts research that underpins the development of low emissions coal technologies (LECT).

In particular, ANLEC R&D aims to provide independent and objective analysis, data and expertise to effectively facilitate the design, permitting and operation of LECT plants using Australian coal under Australian conditions.

The project is co-funded by both the Australian Government and the Australian coal industry, which are each contributing $75 million towards the project over a ten year period.

Callide Oxyfuel Project

The Callide Oxyfuel Project is an international low emissions coal demonstration project at the Callide Power Station in Biloela, Queensland.

This world leading project has successfully demonstrated oxyfuel capture technology retrofitted to an existing Australian coal fired power plant and conducted research on how it might be applied to new power stations.

One of the 30 MW units at Callide A Power Station was retrofitted with oxyfuel technology which produces a stream of high purity CO2, which is ready for geological storage. Commissioning of the retrofitted power station began in March 2012 and the first liquid CO2 was produced in December 2012.   Extensive testing was conducted over a two year period, and the plant ceased operation in March 2015 having successfully achieved all objectives including a target of 10,000 operating hours in full oxyfuel mode.

Nadine Shaw Photography, sourced from the Callide Oxyfuel Project.

CS Energy was the leader of the project and worked closely with an international team of partners including IHI Corporation (Japan), J-Power (Japan), Mitsui & Company (Japan), and Glencore.

Major funding was provided by the Commonwealth and Queensland Government, the Japanese Government and the Australian coal industry through the COAL21 Fund. The cost for the project was $245 million of which $82 million was provided through the COAL21 Fund.

Carbon Geostorage Initiative

The Carbon Geostorage Initiative was initiated with the aim of identifying and assessing suitable sites in Queensland for the safe, long-term geological storage of CO2.  Current publicly available data shows that Queensland has a number of prospective basins for CO2 storage including the Surat, Bowen and Eromanga basins. However, being large basins, further information is required to determine the most prospective areas to commence further investigations.

The Initiative is a three-stage program:

  • Stage 1 comprised a state-wide assessment based on already available data that produced a CO2 Storage Atlas for Queensland. Stage 1 was completed in 2009.

  • Stage 2 is currently underway and following a process of identifying data gaps, the project aims to collect data from the Surat Basin to determine the scale and most prospective regions of the basin.

  • Stage 3 is envisaged to include the commercial development of the most prospective basins and will be implemented by commercial partners and the State.

The combined project is funded by the Australian coal industry and the Australian Government, through Geoscience Australia, contributing a total of $28 million.

CO2CRC Otway Project

The CO2CRC Otway Project is Australia’s first demonstration of the deep geological storage or geosequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most common man-made greenhouse gas.

Geological storage of CO2, as part of carbon capture and storage (CCS), has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large industrial sources such as power stations by up to 90 per cent.

The Otway Project is an ongoing field laboratory for CO2 storage research. It provides technical information on geosequestration processes, technologies and monitoring and verification regimes and is informing public policy and industry decision-makers while also providing assurance to the community.

Stage 1 of the project is now complete and successfully and safely stored 65,000 tonnes of CO2 in a depleted gas field with no leakage.  Monitoring of the CO2 plume will continue for some years to ensure it remains in place with no leakage.

Stage 2 of the project is focussing on CO2 storage in saline formations - deep porous rocks containing formation water. Saline formations are very common worldwide and have the potential to store many years’ worth of CO2 emissions.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) is one of the world’s leading collaborative research organisations focused on CCS R&D.

Direct Injection Carbon Engine

Australia is contributing some critical HELE technology R&D into the Direct Injection Carbon Engine known as DICE.

The Direct Injection Carbon Engine (DICE) represents a major step towards a dispatchable power generation technology that has low capital cost, high efficiency, low greenhouse gas emissions and provides quick stop/start ramp times.

DICE can be used with any carbon-based fuel source, including both renewable and fossil fuels, and can provide back-up for intermittent energy sources, such as solar and wind, or provide peaking power to complement fixed-load power stations. Counterintuitively, a diesel engine operated on a coal-water fuel is inherently more energy-efficient and has a far lower capital cost than a conventional coal-fired boiler. A previous project led by CSIRO found that Micronised Refined Coal-Direct Injection Carbon Engine (MRC-DICE) should be capable of fuel cycle efficiencies of 48-50%, producing CO2 emissions of <700kg CO2/MWh. Further emissions reductions could be achieved by coupling DICE with CO2 capture technologies.

COAL21 funding has been approved for an experiment to test MRC-DICE in a 1 MW scale test engine. The engine will run on Micronised Refined Coal (that is, a finely ground coal in a water slurry).   The joint program is being undertaken collaboratively by the brown and black coal industries and the Commonwealth through ANLEC R&D, in conjunction with CSIRO and MAN Diesel & Turbo, the world’s largest manufacturer of stationary diesel engines.

Successful completion of the DICE Development program will confirm the technical feasibility and inform our understanding of the commercial viability of DICE, which has great promise as a low-emission power generation technology.


NSW Storage Assessment Program

The Australian coal industry has committed $8.3 million, in partnership with New South Wales and Australian Governments, towards identifying potential geological storage for greenhouse gas emissions in New South Wales.

The project is undertaking a state wide assessment of potential CO2 storage opportunities in New South Wales.

The funding partners are the New South Wales Government, the Australian Government (through Geoscience Australia) and the Australian coal industry through the COAL21 Fund.

The project has completed seismic surveys, drilled four stratigraphic wells in the Sydney Basin,  a further two wells in the Darling Basin and tested the properties of the rocks from these wells.  The results show the prospect of favourable geological storage conditions in one section of the Darling Basin.

The possibility of further drilling programs in the Darling Basin is being considered.

ZeroGen Project

The ZeroGen project was one of four projects selected in the initial pre-feasibility stage under the Australian Government’s CCS Flagship program.

The project aimed to develop a commercial scale IGCC power station fitted with CCS. The prefeasibility showed that this particular project should not proceed to the feasibility stage due to a combination of high costs associated with the requirement to build a complete power plant for demonstration purposes and the difficulty in finding a suitable storage site within the selected region.

The project was jointly funded by the Australian Government, the Queensland Government and the Australian coal Industry through the COAL21 Fund, which contributed $40 million towards the completion of the pre-feasibility studies for the project.

The project has been completed and a final report, ZeroGen IGCC with CCS: A Case History, is available on the University of Queensland website here.