15 June 2007

University of Queensland research into geosequestration of greenhouse gases is being exported to the world.

The Energy & Environment Technologies group at UQ has been invited to share its expertise, capabilities and research results with key universities and research institutes in Europe and China, for the process of geosequestration of CO2 into deep coal seams.

Group leader Professor Victor Rudolph is about to embark on a tour of five Chinese research organisations to share developments in this CO2 storage technology.

“Geosequestration in coal seams is a highly promising low-cost solution for areas of the world that have abundant deep coal seams,” Professor Rudolph said.

“The incremental revenue from increased coal seam gas recovery pays for some 50 percent of the total cost of carbon capture and sequestration.

“The process is also very low risk, as the target coal seams have been proved to be largely leak-free for millions of years.

“Additionally, the CO2 is bound to the coal keeping the CO2 in the local area. What is achieved is putting the carbon back to where it came from.

“In Queensland and New South Wales, there are enough identified coal seams to store over 80 years of CO2 emissions from electrical power plants, a significant strategic advantage for eastern Australia.”

Members of the group will include Drs Geoff Wang and Paul Massarotto, who will present seminars and workshops at Beijing University; China University for Mining & Technology (Xuzhou); Xi’an Jiaotong University (Xi’an); Xi’an Coal Mining Institute; and Shanghai Jiaotong University. Another member, Associate Professor Sue Golding, travelled to Germany earlier in the year, presenting findings in the fields of geology and geochemistry.

In a follow-up visit, Dr Massarotto responded to an invitation to present further results and investigate collaboration ideas with RWTH Aachen University and three others from Belgium, Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

“It is clear that scientists and regulators in areas of the world that have abundant deep coal seams see coal based geosequestration of CO2 emerging as the preferred technology for low cost, long term CO2 storage,” Professor Rudolph said.

Professor Rudolph said the group’s leading research was recognised recently by European scientists with an invitation to submit a proposal to support the new Sulcis project for CO2 geosequestration in coal, located in Sardinia, Italy, a high honour for an Australian research team.

Media inquiries: Professor Victor Rudolph (+61 7 3365 4171 or email: victor@cheque.uq.edu.au).