MCi awarded $14.6m to transform CO2 into manufacturing products


Australian cleantech developer Mineral Carbonation International (MCi) has been awarded a $14.6 million federal government grant.

The funding will accelerate MCi’s technology for transforming CO2 emissions into advanced manufacturing and consumer products. 

As one of six individual grants from the $50 million Carbon Capture Use and Storage (CCUS) fund, the grant will go towards constructing a mineral carbonation mobile demonstration plant in Newcastle, NSW. 

MCi CEO Marcus Dawe said the grant will fast-track MCi’s plans to help the hard-to-abate industries towards the transition to net-zero.

“The steel, cement, aluminium, mining and chemical industries need technologies that help with the transition,” he said. 

“This is a key focus not only in Australia but also in the world-wide race to zero emissions.” 

The “MCi Carbon Plant” will be built on Orica’s Kooragang Island site within two years and have direct access to around 250,000 tonnes of captured CO2 from manufacturing operations. 

Once final pilot studies and engineering designs are completed this year, the scale of the plant will be determined. It is expected to convert and remove several million tonnes of CO2 in any industrial site. 

Using carbon engineering processes, MCi transforms captured carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources into solid materials, or “carbonates,” used to manufacture building and construction products. This includes building materials, chemicals, cements, concretes and consumer products. 

This process is called Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) and presents a key opportunity for the circular economy to reduce emissions. 

“By creating products from CO2 that are more valuable than the cost to build and operate carbon plants, the benefits are substantial,” Dawe said. 

“In the future, MCi Carbon Plants will create high quality permanent carbon credits, create a financial return for funders and lower the carbon footprint from the products that use the carbonates; replacing existing high carbon-intensity materials like cement, limestone, gypsum and many other mined and processed bulk materials.” 

CSIRO is anticipated to publish a CO2 Utilisation Roadmap in July 2021, the first significant independent analysis conducted on the CCU field. It is likely that mineral carbonation will be showcased as a solution. 

“In the near future there will be vast volumes of captured carbon dioxide that need to be used or stored,” Dawe said. 

There are many technologies that are being developed and scaled to meet this US$6T global emerging carbon product market and all will need to be assessed if we are to meet Paris Agreement targets. 

The awarding of six projects under the $50M CCUS Grant is a great signal that Australia can play a leading role in the emerging carbon capture utilisation field.”