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Orica invests in CO2 capture research project – transforming emissions into future green building materials
23 August 2013
Orica will support a world-first research pilot plant, which will trial a technology that transforms captured carbon dioxide emissions into forms of solid carbonate for future safe disposal or use in ‘green’ building materials.
Orica, together with both the Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments, will fund the establishment of a CO2 mineral carbonation research pilot plant at the University of Newcastle, Australia. The project will undertake fundamental and industrial research into mineral carbonation technology. Mineral carbonation 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 (MCi) will receive funding from Orica of $3.04 million over 4 years, equally matched by both governments, to establish the plant and undertake research.
Orica Managing Director and CEO, Ian Smith, 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.
Orica scientists have been involved in R&D of this technology for over six years. The aim of the research pilot plant is to determine whether the necessary step-change can be made towards successful scale-up and commercialisation, including reusing the captured CO2 in sustainable building products for the construction industry.
This private/public sustainability initiative is a practical demonstration of Orica’s commitment to finding clever, resourceful solutions to issues confronting both its customers in the mining and industrial sectors as well as Orica’s own operational footprint across its numerous manufacturing sites. 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 was a strong supporter of the research initiative, which holds the promise of a permanent and safe solution in the field of carbon abatement.
Orica Senior Research Associate, Dr. Geoff Brent, said mineral carbonation represented an exciting opportunity to develop a secure and potentially large-scale approach for carbon emissions while producing valuable by-products. He said Orica had a strong incentive to invest in solutions that could deliver carbon reductions on a commercially and environmentally sustainable basis.
In the 2012 financial year, Orica reported that its global carbon abatement activities resulted in the equivalent effect of removing 150,000 cars from the road.
Orica’s investment in this research project in Newcastle is also further demonstration of Orica’s ongoing commitment to the Hunter Region where the company today has more than 650 employees.
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