CSIRO’s key initiative is Post Combustion Capture (PCC), which according to CSIRO’s Energy Technology chief Dr David Brockway can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 85% from existing coal and gas-fired power stations when coupled with carbon storage.
PCC works by capturing greenhouse emissions after the fuel is burnt in a power station.
It can be retrofitted to existing power plants, integrated into new power stations and used in conjunction with renewable systems such as solar power to minimise efficiency losses from power stations.
CSIRO is currently constructing a pilot PCC plant in Newcastle that will be coupled with solar power.
Fossil fuel combustion for stationary energy production is responsible for 49% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, far ahead of the agriculture (18%) and transport (15%) sectors.
CSIRO is undertaking research across a range of areas, including low-emissions technologies for fossil fuel use and efficient coal production; renewable energy and energy storage systems; potential use of hydrogen in the energy cycle; distributed energy generation; energy management; and reducing the environmental consequences of energy use.