An innovative, world-leading project is underway in south-western Victoria to demonstrate that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a technically and environmentally safe way to make deep cuts into Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The CO2CRC Otway Project is the country’s first demonstration of the deep geological storage or geosequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most common greenhouse gas. The project provides technical information on geosequestration processes, technologies and monitoring and verification regimes that will help inform public policy and industry decision-makers while also providing assurance to the community.
The project is of global significance because:
- it is the world’s largest research and geosequestration demonstration project; over 65,000 tonnes of CO2 have been injected and stored in a depleted gas reservoir deep underground and further injections into different formations are being planned; and
- it includes an outstanding monitoring program, which international and national scientists believe to be the most comprehensive of its type in the world.
Lessons learned from the project, particularly from the comprehensive monitoring program, will be adopted by other geosequestration projects around the world.
Read an overview of the science behind Stage 1 of the CO2CRC Otway Project; the journal paper Safe storage and effective monitoring of CO2 in depleted gas fields, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
The Otway Project aims to demonstrate that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is technically and environmentally safe and meets the expectations of government and the community.
- Operation: Demonstrate that CO2 can be safely produced, transported, injected, stored and monitored following best industry standards
- Research: Effectively model CO2 behaviour in the sub-surface, demonstrating safe storage of the gas, verify that the gas remains in the deep sub-surface, and contribute to development of technologies capable of making deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions
- Regulation: Test the applicability of the existing regulatory environment in relation to transport, injection and geological storage of CO2 and provide science-based advice, as needed, toward development of a future regulatory regime
- Education and training: Create opportunities to educate and train people in CCS-related activities
- Collaboration: Provide a broader platform for collaboration at national and international levels
- Community consultation: Communicate effectively with the community and stakeholders about the nature, progress and outcomes of the project and build understanding and acceptance of carbon dioxide capture and geological storage.
Location and site selection
Our geologists have been researching the geological structures of the CO2CRC Otway Project site since 2003. They have found that the geology of the site is well suited to the geological storage of CO2.
The geology comprises of a series of thick layers of porous sandstones that are suitable for the storage of carbon dioxide. It is overlain by caprock of mudstone that prevents the leakage of the carbon dioxide to the layer above it.
Why this site?
- A source of carbon dioxide
- Oil and gas tenements available
- Large amount of exploration and production data
- Existing infrastructure
- Gas had demonstrably been trapped for a long time
- Adequate storage capacity and favourable geology
The A$40M CO2CRC Otway Project funding is provided by:
- The Australian Federal Government through the Australian Greenhouse Office and AusIndustry;
- The Victorian Government;
- The CRC program;
- CO2CRC Limited (previously CPPL) industry partners;
- CO2CRC members; and
- US Department of Energy.
The contributions of Canada, Korea and New Zealand are also acknowledged.