Australia’s chief scientist calls for a technology-driven transition to clean energy

To decarbonise Australia’s energy and industrial sectors, Australia’s chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel says the need for carbon capture and storage (CCS) alongside other renewables is critical, according to CO2CRC’s CEO, David Bryers at an address to the National Press Club last week.

Bryers mentioned that by 2040 it is expected that there will be a growing increase in the demand of global energy of 25-30 per cent to support growing populations and economies. The world also needs to address rising greenhouse gas emissions and climate change at the same time.

In the address, Bryers agreed with Finkel’s comments that hydrogen can help solve some of the largest emission challenges. Hydrogen provides unique solutions to Australia’s clean-energy future and CCS will be one of the tools used among the portfolio of solutions to supply more energy with fewer emissions.

Bryers welcomed Finkel’s comments as an important step in acknowledging Australia’s clean-energy future. He also noted that CCS is significantly more cost effective when applied to hydrogen production in this way since carbon dioxide is inherently separated in the production process and the higher process pressure improves the energy efficiency of the carbon dioxide extraction.

“CCS has an important and unique role to play in reducing emissions from industrial processes, which is vital to Australia’s economy, like gas processing, steel and cement production,” said Byers.

“Producing clean hydrogen from fossil fuels, paired with CCS offers the most cost-effective, reliable and flexible pathway to large-scale hydrogen production.”

Finkel said that Australia have four primary energy sources, that meet the needs of the future – solar, wind, hydrogen from natural gas and hydrogen from coal. The chief scientist had also made mention that the transition to clean energy will be a big undertaking, he also mentioned Australia’s workforce is highly innovative and up for the challenge.