Environmental Protection

Australian Company Bent on Solving Coal Plants' C02 Emissions Woes

Chemical company Orica, along with the Australian and the New South Wales Governments, will fund the construction of a CO2 mineral carbonation research pilot plant at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Leaders of Orica, an Australian chemical company, announced Aug. 23 their company will support a groundbreaking research pilot plant to test a technology that transforms captured carbon dioxide emissions into forms of solid carbonate for future safe disposal or use in green building materials. The Australian government and the New South Wales government are joining Orica to fund the establishment of the CO2 mineral carbonation research pilot plant at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Their announcement said mineral carbonation technology "mimics and accelerates the Earth's own natural carbon sink mechanism by combining CO2 with low grade minerals to create inert carbonates, which are similar to common baking soda."

Mineral Carbonation International Pty Ltd will receive $3.04 million from Orica over four years, equally matched by both governments, to build the plant and undertake the research. Orica scientists have been researching the technology for the past six years.

The plant will use CO2 captured at Orica's nearby Kooragang Island manufacturing facility in Newcastle. Orica Managing Director and CEO Ian Smith said Orica is a strong supporter of the research initiative, which holds the promise of a permanent and safe solution in the field of carbon abatement because every coal-fired power plant in the world could capture its C02 emissions. He joined NSW Resources and Energy Minister, Hon. Chris Hartcher MP, Chief Scientist of Geosciences Australia, Dr. Clinton Foster, and representatives from the University of Newcastle to publicly launch the project.

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