Australian and Japanese companies aim to bury Asia’s carbon emissions under the sea

Australian and Japanese companies aim to bury Asia’s carbon emissions under the sea

Australian and Japanese companies are studying plans to capture carbon dioxide from industrial emitters in Asia and store it under the ocean floor off the coast of Australia.

Perth-based Transborders Energy Pty is working with partners including Tokyo Gas Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. on proposals to ship emissions from heavy industry in Australia and potentially across the Asia-Pacific region, and use a floating hub — technology currently deployed in the gas sector — to inject the material under the seabed.

Major energy producers have championed carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a means to curb their emissions footprint, but the method has been slow to gain traction as key projects have been hit by technical issues and cost overruns.

This year about 40 million tons of carbon dioxide will be captured across the world’s 21 operating facilities, according to the International Energy Agency, a fraction of total emissions of about 51 billion tons. The Australian project plans to capture 1.5 million tons a year.

Global scientists are increasingly looking to deploy CCS technology offshore. The Northern Lights initiative, backed by the Norwegian government, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Equinor ASA and Total SE, plans to store 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide a year under the North Sea as soon as 2024, with long-term plans to scale up the operation to 5 million tons.