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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

67 JG imageSydney was the host city of the 2014 National CCS conference in Australia. The two day event covered developments on CCS in Australia primarily but there was a large input from South East Asia and other countries like UK, USA and South Africa so it was far from a national event.

Like other regions of the world CCS is having something of a bad time in Australia. The new government has cut funding from the Flagships Programme, to save money as well as that bigger budget items like the Carbon tax and the Mining Tax has been cut. There is some good news with the Otway project having received a further injection of cash to keep the injection site running as a test bed for 5 more years. The existing projects like South West Hub and Carbon Net are continuing to the end of their existing contractual arrangements. The future focus is on the Gorgon project which comes on stream in 2016. Unfortunately the Callide oxy fuel project will end in February next year but it will have done so completing all the objectives it had set itself and more.

It seems unlikely given the current budget constraints in Australia that we will see a power based CCS demonstration project before 2020 but let’s not forget that Gorgon is a massive move forward in terms of injection capacity and incorporates pressure management of the storage reservoir a world’s first at this scale.

I was asked to present in a session as part of a double act with Ellina Levina from our comrades in arms at the IEA CCS unit in Paris. Our session was entitled International Perspectives in CCS. Ellina cover the 2013 CCS Roadmap and I covered the global technical status so they complemented each other well as the two bodies do in real life.

My presentation, seemed to be well received and I was asked to send it to 2 journalists whether that is good or bad remains to be seen in what they write.

Another interesting challenge was presented to me as part of a pre-recorded interview for the Sydney radio station 2er. Apart from the usual preamble on the role and status of CCS I had been briefed that they would ask me to describe CCS in simple terms for the layman to understand. So in preparation I did a bit of preparation on my simple description. The girls recording the interview were very good, after my third attempt to dumb CCS down they generously suggested people mjosirt now get it. I have always said scientists are not good communicators to the public and here I was practising what I preach, but it was an interesting exercise.