Research

The CO2CRC H3 Capture Project

The CO2CRC H3 Capture Project has been Australia's most comprehensive CO2 capture research program. Running from 2009 – 2011, the Project aimed to better understand how various CO2 capture technologies perform with Australian brown coal flue gases and evaluate three technologies for larger scale capture.

The capture technologies evaluated were:

membrane

Solvent absorption – the most mature technology and currently the method of choice for CO2 separation in industry globally. goto Find out more

membrane

Membrane separation – a promising stand-alone technology that can also be integrated with solvent systems. goto Find out more

membrane

Pressure swing adsorption – a new technology that captures CO2 using fixed beds of solid material and releases it by pressure changes. goto Find out more

The University of Melbourne led the solvent and membrane research while Monash University undertook research and development on adsorbents.The project also made use of the solvent-based International Power Capture Plant at Hazelwood power station.

The successful project was able to:             

  • determine the effects of the operating parameters of CO2 concentration, moisture content, SOx and NOx concentration and fly ash properties on the behaviour of solvent systems and other novel separation technologies;
  • assess a post-combustion capture process and energy integration options for Hazelwood Power Station; and
  • review the technical and economic viability of the commercial use of post-combustion capture for existing and new Victorian brown-coal power stations.

The project was part of the Latrobe Valley Post-Combustion Capture Project, supported by the Victorian Government through their Energy Technology Innovation Strategy (ETIS) Brown Coal R&D funding. The majority of funding for the CO2CRC H3 Capture Project was provided by CO2CRC and GDF SUEZ.

CO2CRC capture demonstrations, along with the CO2CRC Otway Project, provide a significant platform for developing cutting edge CCS technology and will help Australia contribute to the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Background for capture projects

Brown coal, or lignite, is the cheapest source of fossil fuel for power generation in Australia. Australia has abundant brown coal reserves, 24.1 per cent of the world’s known economic resources. Brown coal has a very high moisture content, up to 60 per cent water, so burning brown coal for power in conventional boilers is less efficient and consequently produces more CO2 than dry coals.

Significant improvements in the process, coupled with the ability to capture CO2 from brown coal-fired power plants, will improve the prospects for the use of this abundant resource in a carbon-constrained future.

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