The “Global Institute” will research and develop CCS technology, including viable demonstration projects and ultimately work towards making clean coal a viable process.
Carbon-reducing technology has been touted as “vital” for efforts to reduce greenhouse gases by the Minerals Council of Australia.
“This is the missing link in the suite of policies needed for a balanced, comprehensive and measured approach to a low emissions global economy,” MCA chief executive Mitchell Hooke said.
There could be no solution to climate change without clean coal technologies according to Hooke and Australia’s must policy include “breakthrough” technologies which lower emissions from existing energy sources.
The Queensland Government has already called on the Prime Minister to locate the institute in the sunny state, due its clean coal research efforts and the strength of its coal industry.
“My request is that Queensland’s pioneering efforts in this area be recognised and considered as the hub for the initiative’s activities,” Queensland’s acting premier Paul Lucas said.
Lucas said the state government and the coal industry had already established a $900 million fund towards cleaner coal technologies.
CCS technology captures CO2 from a carbon emitter, like a coal-fired plant, and transports it to a storage site preventing the carbon from entering the atmosphere.
The institute and its plans will be put under the microscope by domestic and foreign industry groups and government bodies.
With around 80% of Australia’s electricity coming from coal-fired power stations it is hoped the centre will pave the way for the commercial deployment of the technology by the end of the next decade.
Legislation to establish a framework for CO2 storage under the seabed in Commonwealth waters is currently before Parliament.
This week the New South Wales Minerals chief executive officer Nikki Williams promoted CCS at the Gunnedah Basin coal conference.
The Prime Minister will make the project a centrepiece of his efforts when he attends the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, The Australian newspaper reported.