Carbon Technology Research Centre

School of Science, Engineering and Information Technology

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CTRC scholar Bharti Garg is sharing her carbon capture knowledge with the world

Bharti Garg presenting at ACEF, June 2019.

Carbon Technology Research Centre scholar Bharti Garg recently represented Federation University at the Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) in the Philippines to share her research into post-combustion carbon capture.

ACEF, which was recently held from 17-21 June 2019 at the Headquarters of the Asian Development Bank in Manila, is a prestigious event that brings researchers and industry from the Asia and other parts of the world together to address clean energy challenges.

One of those challenges relates to post-combustion capture of carbon dioxide (CO2)from coal-fired power stations, namely the removal of acidic gases such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) prior to CO2 removal, which would otherwise severely affect the CO2 capture process.

This challenge is specifically relevant for countries like Australia, where power stations do not have flue gas desulfurisation (FGD) units installed, potentially making the implementation of post-combustion carbon capture very expensive.

Through her presentation, The CS-Cap Process: A Cost-effective Capture Approach to Australian Coal Fired Power Plants, Bharti shared her work on the innovative CS-Cap process that can help to overcome this challenge.

Patented by CSIRO, CS-Cap eliminates the need to install separate FGD units by using a single absorbing liquid to simultaneously capture SO2 and CO2 from coal-fired power station flue gas.

‘If you have a combined single unit, it could potentially offer cost-effective solutions to those investing in the process,’ Bharti said.

Apart from the cost benefits, the process might end up requiring less space to the standard method, making it an attractive option for countries like India that, similar to Australia, do not currently have the FGD units installed and heavily depend on coal as an energy resources.

Bharti’s presentation demonstrated the CS-Cap process , and generated interest among the attendees from developing nations, particularly India, who were interested in deploying either carbon capture and storage (CCS) or FGD units in their power plants.

‘Asian Development Bank wanted me to explain the scope of CS-Cap to people coming from developing countries,’ Bharti said.

‘I was able to present an Australian case and compare CS-Cap technology with the standard methods that use flue-gas desulfurisation with post-combustion CO2 capture.

Bharti’s presentation drew on her research with CTRC, which she joined in 2015 as a PhD scholar funded by CSIRO in the School Engineering and IT under supervision of CTRC Head, Associate Professor Vince Verheyen.

Her research has involved testing of various species in samples from the Loy Yang Power station using the CTRC‘s analytical and bench-scale facilities.

‘This research would not have been possible without the CTRC,’ Bharti said.

During a ‘deep dive’ workshop as part of the carbon capture group at ACEF, Bharti also contributed to discussions on the challenges faced by various nations in deployment of CCS.

Bharti’s presence at ACEF provided a vital opportunity to demonstrate the work being done at CTRC on the global stage, connect with peers in the clean energy field and open the way for future collaborations.

‘We have shown that this kind of work has been happening at the Carbon Technology Research Centre. ACEF was a very good channel to share the work done in the capture space with various developing and developed nations and global CCS knowledge centres. It opened up possibilities for future Australian joint ventures with nations present at the forum like the US, China, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Canada, Europe and the UK ’ Bharti said.

Hydrogen forum

A pathway to environmental and regional prosperity – Where to for Gippsland?

When: Thursday 8 August 8:25am–4:30pm
Where: Auditorium (3E), Federation University (Gippsland)

Federation University, in partnership with Australian Carbon Innovation, is hosting a Hydrogen Forum to discuss the possibilities for this low emission ‘fuel for the future’ in Gippsland. Listen to speakers including Chief Scientist of Australia Alan Finkel and have your questions answered about a sustainable future for the region. Find out more and register on Eventbrite.

Gippsland Tech School student projects

The Centre recently had a visit from Dr Warren Stannard of the newly established Gippsland Tech School to discuss the creation of student projects. Warren and Vince discussed ways CO2 capture technology can be introduced to students as a project activity.

Visiting RMIT PhD students

Tom McGrath and Phoebe Lewis are visiting RMIT PhD students working under the supervision of Dr Bradley Clarke.

They are investigating the occurrence and fate of persistent organic pollutants in the environment. Their research is analysis intensive and requires access to specialised equipment such as GC-MS/MS. They have been using our instrument here in the CTRC’s CCS laboratory to further their own skills development.

The 2nd Australia-Japan Symposium on carbon resource utilisation

Associate Professor Vince Verheyen and PhD Candidate Bharti Garg recently attended the 2nd Australia-Japan Symposium on carbon resource utilisation where Bharti was selected to give an oral presentation, her topic was: Combined Capture System Regeneration. Pictured here also is Bharti’s co supervisor Dr Ashleigh Cousins CSIRO.

This symposium offered an opportunity for industry representatives, researchers and academia to come together to exchange technical knowledge, and to discuss opportunities and challenges related to the sustainable utilisation of diverse carbon resources. It also recognises the potential for Australia and Japan's R&D communities to work closely together in solving these challenges.

Coffee grounds as a source of biodiesel

Scott Douglas from Barefoot Pathways recently visited the lab to explore options for adding value to coffee grounds by evaluating their potential as a source of biodiesel.

Over the last 8 months he and his network collected approximately 20kg of coffee grounds per week from 50 cafes, restaurants and bars between Bairnsdale and Traralgon. They turn the coffee grounds into compost, fertiliser and body scrub but collect way more than they can use.

As a result discussion took place around the options for biodiesel production and the option of turning local biomass into value added products.

Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre visit

Recently the representatives from the Centre visited OMNIA along with the Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) Michael Sharpe and the Victorian Director, Michael Grogan. They undertook some site visits to meet manufacturers and gain a greater understanding of the needs and OMNIA was included.

Michael Grogan and Michael Sharpe are both working on a national approach to lift manufacturing across the nation. They provide expert advice to funding bodies in regards to advanced manufacturing project applications. Both directors were in Gippsland to talk with the Centre in the lead up to the development of the Industrial Transformation Research Hub which is connected with the Regional Carbon Innovation and Demo Centre.

Michael Grogan is a director of AMGC. He is the former CEO of Sutton Tools, an engineering manufacturer producing and exporting a full range of cutting tools from three Australian facilities and one New Zealand facility. Mr Grogan was appointed as Victorian director of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre in May 2016. He is Chair of the Inner Northern Local Learning and Employment Network; Board Member of Manufacturing Skills Australia – Industry Skills Council; a Director of DMTC; Board Member of the Adult, Community and Further Education organisation and Member of the Victorian Manufacturing Skills and Training Taskforce.

Michael Sharpe has a strong track record in Australian trade and industry including resources, energy, infrastructure and defence. Moving directly from school into the family business Sharpe Bros, he built a highly successful career in a key Australian infrastructure industry. Sharpe Bros is a multi award winning leader in the roads industry, providing innovative services for road surfacing and maintenance operations throughout Australia. The company can trace its roots back over three generations and more than 60 years.

'Carbon to Products Seminar - pathway to a sustainable future'

Brown Coal Innovation Australia (BCIA) in conjunction with Federation University recently held a one-day seminar on Carbon to Products in Churchill to showcase the potential of the carbon resource in the Latrobe region. Associate Professor, Vince Verheyen was one of the presenters. Read more

Rubicon staff visit for some upskilling

Rubicon Outdoor Centre is an outdoor secondary school operated by the Department of Education of Training (DET), they visited the Lab this week to enhance their staffs knowledge staffs knowledge base about energy issues.

A/Prof Vince Verheyen provided a fantastic talk, tour and discussion. 'It really increased our understanding of the issues and complexities in this area' said Paul Banks.

Pictured left to right: Jon Merry, Mark Cook, Centauri Hirt, Maddie Ovens, Paul Banks, Matthew Bretherton (Rubicon Staff) and Vince Verheyen (FedUni).

Bioresource Processing Institute of Australia (BioPRIA)

Thilina is a chemical engineering PhD student at Monash University, Clayton. His thesis is on “Biorefinery Opportunities in a Thermomechanical Pulping Mill” for which he collaborates with Norske Skog Australia Paper Mills at Boyer, Tasmania.

Thilina is currently visiting the CCS Laboratory for resin acids analysis using GC – FID and terpene analysis using Headspace GC. His research interests are thermomechanical pulping, refining, nanocellulose production and application, phytochemicals, biorefineries, life cycle analysis, and techno-economic feasibility analysis.

Welcome Thilina!

International guests visit the lab

We recently had a visit from a group of International visiting scientists and engineers from the International CSS Knowledge Centre, Canada and the United Kingdom. They were escorted by the CO2CRC to discuss progress in carbon capture and storage and conduct a CTRC lab tour.

Our centre looks forward to collaborating with them in our research projects.

Laboratory staff update their skills

CTRC staff recently attended a training day by ATX updating their skills for utilisation of the Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Training was specifically for the energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) located at its Federation University Australia, Gippsland Campus. The SEM has the advantage over optical microscopy of greater resolutions and magnifications. EDX / EDS allows quick, semi-quantitative sample characterisation and can be used to identify surface contamination and impurities located by the SEM examination. EDX / EDS is also required to ascertain if the correct material has been used in the manufacture of a product, e.g. grade of alloy.

Carbon capture and storage laboratory opens at Gippsland Campus

CO2CRC Limited and Federation University Australia officially opened a new carbon capture and storage (CCS) laboratory at Federation University Australia’s Gippsland Campus in September 2016.

The Hon Darren Chester, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Federal Member for Gippsland, opened this vital technology and analytical resource.

The FedUni laboratory is part of the Australian CCS Research Laboratories Network (CCSNet). It is funded through a $2.3 million agreement between the Australian Government’s Education Infrastructure Fund and CO2CRC Limited.

The new laboratory will conduct important research into a range of CCS technologies, with the aim of reducing the cost of implementation so as to make price-competitive carbon reduction options.

“The new laboratory’s location at Federation University Australia’s Gippsland Campus is particularly fitting, given that nearly 90 per cent of Australia’s brown coal reserves are located here,” Dr Vincent Verheyen, Director of the Carbon Technology Research Centre at Federation University Australia, said.

“The laboratory will make a significant contribution to the understanding and implementation of solvent-based post-combustion capture at Latrobe Valley Brown Coal power generation facilities.

“While the initial focus of the facilities will be on local flue gas, the knowledge gained will be relevant to other power generators and broadened to pre-combustion coal to product applications around the country and internationally,” Dr Verheyen said.

Tania Constable, CO2CRC’s CEO, believes that carbon capture storage can and should play a vital role in supporting the renewal of the Gippsland region and Federation University Australia will play its part. Ms Constable said, “CCS is the only proven and reliable technology to remove large scale emissions from power generation and industrial processes. The Gippsland community’s plan for action highlights the potential of CCS. This means thousands of jobs for the Gippsland region and will remove over 10 per cent of Australia’s emissions.”

One of the goals of the Commonwealth Education Infrastructure Funded Centre will be to focus on undertaking future energy training and research towards environmentally neutral and cost effective carbon based technologies.

The facility will provide a community focal point for science on brown coal and related energy knowledge topics. It will provide energy education services to community groups and students from primary school to post-graduate level.