O’Neill presented a paper “Australian Coal: Mitigating CO2 Emissions” at the Towards Zero Emissions conference held in Brisbane on July 21 to 22.
The presentation addressed the feasibility of achieving zero emissions, goals achieved so far and future projects to work towards emission-free electricity.
“A completely emission-free electricity system is doubtful any time in the foreseeable future. A zero emission coal plant is possible – provided the science and the economics stack up,” O’Neill said.
To date Australia has managed to eliminate Sox, Nox and particulates. It has made major gains in increasing thermal efficiency and has commenced programs to eliminate CO2 emissions.
O’Neill said there was two main strategies Australia should adopt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-based power generation: increase thermal efficiency and CO2 capture and geo-sequestration.
With this in mind Australia has adopted the COAL21 projects whose key objectives include; developing a national action plan for achieving lower emissions from coal, promoting relevant project focused research and development, fostering greater public awareness, providing mechanisms for effective international collaboration and making informed policy.