Friday, October 10, 2014


SP at TOD ANZ has a summary of articles about the failure of the Zerogen clean coal project in Queensland - Carbonuncle.
"A carbuncle is an abscess larger than a boil, usually with one or more openings draining pus onto the skin."

A carbonuncle might be the future term used if injecting large quantities of CO2 into the ground has an unfortunate end result.

The Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project in Australia took a significant step backwards as Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced that Queensland would not be providing further funding for ZeroGen to build what was supposed to be a landmark demonstration power station and that the state owned ZeroGen is to be sold.
Bligh denies clean coal bungle
Brisbane Time, Dec 19th.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has denied walking away from the development of clean coal technology, after abandoning plans to build a central Queensland plant by 2015. The Queensland government had ploughed $102 million into the ZeroGen research project, which also attracted $92 million from the federal government and the coal industry. It had aimed to have a $4.3 billion coal-fired power station utilising carbon capture and storage technology – which would prevent greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere – built by 2015.

But the state government today confirmed it would not pursue a proposal to fund the proposed power station “at this time” because of concerns about its viability. It also plans to offload the state government-owned ZeroGen company, turning it into an independent entity owned and run by the coal industry.

"Reports this morning that the Queensland Government has scrapped our clean coal project ZeroGen or that it has been a waste of money are utterly wrong in every respect,” Ms Bligh told reporters in Brisbane.

“What we know now from the early research is that a fully functional power station by 2015 using this technology is technically possible but it is not economically viable.”

Ms Bligh said the technology “would drive up the cost of electricity beyond the reach of normal people” if proceeded with now.

The proposed plant had been expected to cost $4.3 billion.

“The Queensland Government cannot have its cake and eat it to, profiting from exports while being unwilling to invest in the [research and development] necessary to reduce emissions”, [said Federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson].

Mr Bligh said she had spoken to Mr Ferguson this morning to explain what was happening with the ZeroGen project. “I think he understands like I do that the great discoveries of the world have had disappointments along the way,” she said.

Funding for this project came out of the CCS Flagship Program which had $5.1 billion to distribute. The stated objectives were ambitious;
The program supports the construction of 2 to 4 commercial scale CCS projects with an electricity generating capacity of 1000 mega watts or equivalent size for other industrial processes. This objective supports the G8’s call for the launch of 20 demonstration CCS projects worldwide by 2010, to be operational from 2015 and for commercial deployment by 2020.

The Minister for Resources and Energy called on the state and territory governments and the Australian Coal Association to nominate projects for consideration under CCS Flagships program in May 2009. Nominations closed on 14 August 2009.

ZeroGen was shortlisted for this money on December 8th 2009. Interestingly,this the last time the media centre at ZeroGen appears to have been updated. Mr Ferguson might be understandably disappointed that his energy partners appear to have let him down after just one year. Unlike that other "great" CCS demonstration project in Victoria which at least allowed the Emperor Minister to appear clothed in transparent greenish attire on national TV.

The research for the Ottway Basin Demonstration Project is being conducted by the CRC for Greenhouse Gas Technologies. Personally I am a bit skeptical of a CRC where the preponderance of the publications consists of brochures, grey literature, industry sponsored workshops and posters. I count only two refereed journal articles at the websites database. The website is beautiful though.

A commenter at the end of the Brisbane Times article provides a good link to The Economist. ...

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