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Santos is partnering with Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, to develop what is hoped could become the lowest cost direct air capture technology in the world.

The collaboration will continue to develop CSIRO Carbon Assist™ technology which removes CO2 directly from the atmosphere and higher-concentration post-combustion scenarios. The CO2 can then be safely and permanently stored as part of a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, or used to make carbon-based products (CCUS).

The technology will be trialled and developed to realise its commercial potential at Moomba in South Australia, from where the captured CO2 will be transported by pipeline to Santos’ A$220 million Moomba carbon capture and storage project.

Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher said the announcement of the trial comes at an important time for the global community as the world struggles to find a credible pathway to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

“At Santos, we have an industry-leading target of achieving net-zero scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2040 and we are committed to looking at new technologies and finding cost-effective ways to reduce our emissions so that we can continue to supply affordable and cleaner energy to meet customer demand,” Mr Gallagher said.

“Following the go ahead for our Moomba CCS project this week, we’re proud to partner with CSIRO to develop ground-breaking carbon capture technology which is really a negative-emissions technology.

“This technology literally has the potential to negate emissions elsewhere in the economy, especially in hard-to-abate sectors that Australia still needs to manufacture essential everyday products – products like cement, steel and the chemicals that are the building blocks of the clothes we wear, our medical equipment, the packaging we use for bread and milk, the pipes that carry our water, toothpaste, detergents and many other things.

“With Moomba CCS having capacity to store up to 20 million tonnes of CO2 every year for 50 years, Moomba could be a large-scale, commercial CCS hub not only reducing Santos’ emissions, but helping to cost-effectively negate emissions elsewhere in the Australian economy.”

CSIRO Energy Director Dr Marita Niemelae said that CO2 capture technologies will play a vital role in the transition to net-zero emissions.

“By collaborating with industry, we can demonstrate key technologies at scale, ensuring superior performance and economics,” Dr Niemelae said.

“CSIRO has invested in CCS research for over 20 years, because of its potential for large-scale decarbonisation leading to emissions reduction and the creation of new industries.

“As Australia’s energy transition catalyst, CSIRO is ensuring a pathway to secure, affordable, low-emissions energy for decades ahead.”

The partnership between Santos and CSIRO includes a framework for future commercialisation of the technology.