Our research teams have recently completed evaluation of an experimental capture system called CO2CRC UNO MK 3. The solvent system is designed to capture 90 per cent of CO2 emissions from large-scale emission sources such as power stations (pre and post-combustion) and other industrial sources. UNO MK 3 is suitable for retrofitting to existing emission sources as well as for new build processes. We estimate that integration of this capture process with a power station should result in a 25 per cent reduction in the energy use for this system compared with current commercial systems. This is now in the path of commercialisation persuaded by a spin off company, UNO Technology Pty Ltd. Development of other new solvents are in our next plan.
Our membrane researchers are developing new materials and systems for CO2 separation. Their patented technique for production of ultra-thin membranes should have the necessary combination of selectivity and permeability to be economic for large-scale implementation. Testing is underway in the United States to verify the membrane’s ability to achieve expected performances in the presence of real world impurities. We are also involved in synthesising various different, state of the art, polymeric membranes, spinning in hollow fibres and testing under real feed conditions. Testing in a new frontier for natural gas is now underway.
Our adsorbents materials and process teams are developing and refining a rapid screening tool for post-combustion capture of CO2. The tool is a software program developed to quickly characterize a material’s suitability for CO2 adsorption based on its properties, thereby reducing future research and development costs.
Further development of chabazite materials, a manufactured crystal material specifically for CO2 separation from natural gas, delivers promising results.
Polyethylenimine (PEI) materials have been successfully pelletised and small-scale testing of this innovative material is underway.
Our teams have looked at cooling emissions from industrial processes to a point where the CO2 is frozen, which can then be removed, contained and eventually transported for carbon storage. Initial laboratory trials have been successfully completed.
Linked to our economic research, our biomass research considers the impact of biomass on cost of electricity and emissions reduction. We have been investigating biomass-fired auxiliary energy sources for providing electricity and steam for carbon capture and storage at coal fired power plants and biomass-natural gas co-firing on natural gas combined cycle plants.