Tuesday, July 7, 2009

$10m Latrobe Valley carbon capture plant opens

ABC News Online, 8 July 2009


International Power has officially opened its carbon capture and storage demonstration plant at its Hazelwood power station in the Latrobe Valley, in Victoria's south-east.

The $10 million project received funds from the state and federal governments to capture CO2 in a solid chemical form and store it above ground.

The project is one of the biggest carbon capture plants installed at an Australian power station.

Victorian Energy Minister Peter Batchelor launched the project today.

The process takes emissions from the power station smoke stacks, extracts CO2 and uses a chemical process to turn it into calcium carbonate.

The resulting solid can then be stored above ground or sold to industry.

Mr Batchelor says it is one of a range of options being investigated to store the power industry emissions.

"Where you produce a product, you quickly find a market but the really important task here is to recognise thath this is taking technology that's worked in the laboratory, in the research and development phase, and taking it to an industrial scale development," he said.

But Environment Victoria has labelled the project a waste of taxpayer funds.

A spokesman for the group, Mark Wakeham, says the plant will capture about 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide a day.

But he says the power station produces about 50,000 tonnes of CO2 for the same period.

"The power station is long past its use-by date," he said.

"To spend $2 million of taxpayers' money on this project, they could have achieved much larger emissions reductions by spending that money on energy efficiency and on clean energy generation in the Latrobe Valley."

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