Orica to establish Australian CO2 research plant


Orica, along with the Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments, will invest in a carbon dioxide (CO2) mineral carbonation research pilot plant at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

The research pilot plant aims to trial a new technology that can produce carbonate rock from captured CO2 emissions, for potential use as new green building materials in the construction industry.

Mineral Carbonation International (MCi) will spend A$9m ($8m), with funding of A$3.04m ($2.7m) each from the Australian and New South Wales Governments and Orica, during the next four years to establish the pilot plant.

"The research pilot plant aims to trial a new technology that can produce carbonate rock from captured CO2 emissions."

MCi will undertake fundamental and industrial research into mineral carbonation technology, while Orica is already capturing CO2 at its nearby Kooragang Island manufacturing facility in Newcastle.

Orica senior research associate Dr. Geoff Brent said the mineral carbonation can be used to develop a secure and potentially large-scale approach for carbon emissions while producing valuable by-products.

MCi CEO Marcus St. John Dawe said: "The technology is proven in the lab and we now want to see if we can scale it to reduce the cost to be in line with a future carbon price."

Led by Dr. Geoff Brent from Orica and Professors Bogdan Dlugogorski and Eric Kennedy at the Priority Research Centre for Energy (PRCfE) at UoN, the project is being performed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers and chemical and industrial engineers.

"The major difference between this and geosequestration is that we are permanently transforming CO2, not just storing it underground," Dawe added.

MCi is a joint venture between Newcastle Innovation (the University of Newcastle's technology transfer company), Orica and GreenMag Group.

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