CSIRO Energy (a branch of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) has proven a post combustion capture (PCC) technology in Australia. PCC is a relatively new technology that can be utilized to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in power stations, smelters, steel works and other industrial facilities. CO2 is the anthropogenic gas in the atmosphere primarily responsible for global warming. Once CO2 is captured through PCC it could potentially be stored deep underground or beneath the ocean in rock formations, although serious concerns with this approach remain.

According to CSIRO Energy Technology Chief, Dr. David Brockway, PCC could “potentially reduce CO2 emissions from existing and future coal-fired power stations by more than 85 percent.” PCC directs emissions through an absorbing solution containing a chemical that captures CO2. The CO2 is then removed form the absorbing solution by steam so that it can be reused, while the CO2 is cooled and compressed into a liquid so that it can be stored. The CSIRO current pilot project is able to capture about 1000 tons of CO2 per year from the power station’s exhaust-gas flues.

CSIRO is looking to expand its pilot projects in Australia and export the technology into China, which many studies indicate has surpassed the United States as the largest contributor of CO2 in the world. Carbon sequestration technologies may be part of a portfolio of technologies aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the United States, China and other countries.