Federation and Australian Carbon Innovation finding new uses for the region’s carbon resource

Fulvic and humic acid from lignite can be used in fertilisers

It is well recognised that new power stations will most likely not be built into the foreseeable future. Given this outlook, it is critical that the Gippsland region position itself for an economic transition away from high-emission power generation.

Low or zero emission carbon products created from the rich carbon resource in Gippsland may present the solution.

Two research projects currently being undertaken in connection with carbon capture and soil fertilisers by Australian Carbon Innovation (ACI) in partnership with Federation University highlight just some of the real carbon products and uses that could be produced locally.

Federation University Research Fellow Dr Alicia Reynolds has been undertaking research connected with post-combustion carbon capture at AGL Loy Yang in collaboration with industry partners including CSIRO, AGL Energy and Japan’s IHI Corporation.

One of the aims of the research is to reduce the cost and energy required in capturing CO2, but also potential ways in which CO2 can be reused.

This work will help build on previous research that has shown how CO2 can be reused in vegetable glasshouse production.

The other major project being undertaken involves enhancing the yield and quality of humic soil enhancer and fertiliser products utilising lignites.

ACI and FedUni in partnership with Omnia Specialties – an international leader in developing and manufacturing speciality fertilisers – are exploring how humic products can be produced from lignite regardless of the source.

The technology developed through the project will negate the need for selective mining, which would open up the opportunity for the mass production of these products locally.

The project includes an industry placement for a PhD student and is being supervised by Associate Professor Vince Verheyen (CTRC Leader) and Dr Teferi Belayneh (Omnia Commercial and Technical Development Manager).

Subsequent to the promising nature of these projects, FedUni and ACI has undertaken a feasibility study into establishing a Regional Carbon Innovation Centre, which will focus on helping researchers take their carbon-related projects from the lab to market in the Gippsland region.