An enthusiastic crowd of scientists, dignitaries and other VIPs attended the launch of the new CO2 research lab at UWA

A new state-of-the art, $10 million CO2 Research Laboratory was formally opened on 6 November at The University of Western Australia (UWA), marking one of the highlights of UWA Research Week.

The UWA laboratory is a node of the National Geosequestration Laboratory (NGL) – a national, multi-site facility, supported by $48.4 million in funding from the Australian Government under its Education Investment Fund (EIF), focused on delivering research and solutions to help enable commercial-scale storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) to reduce manmade greenhouse gas emissions and therefore help mitigate their effects on the environment.  

Research at UWA’s new laboratory will be led by Winthrop Professor David Lumley, UWA Chair in Geophysics and Director of the UWA Centre for Energy Geoscience, and Winthrop Professor Eric May, Chevron Chair in Gas Process Engineering.

“The geological storage of manmade CO2, or geosequestration, is a key strategy to reduce global CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and oceans,” said Professor Lumley.

“The new laboratory will enable scientists and engineers to undertake cutting edge research into innovative techniques to efficiently remove and capture carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, LNG facilities and other industrial processes, and develop solutions to help make long-term storage of carbon emissions in deep geological formations a viable option for the global community,” he said.

UWA’s new laboratory features the latest in geophysical sensors, data analysis and high performance computing equipment to support the bench-scale experiments, models and testing of  hypotheses which form the research focus of the facility.

Besides its research focus, the laboratory will serve as a world-class teaching facility in which the next generation of process engineers and other technical experts will develop the skills to meet the engineering challenges of energy and industrial projects across the globe.

“UWA's CO2 Research Laboratory will be a significant drawcard for attracting international research talent and cooperation, helping Australia to build its capability and talent pool,“ said Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson, who formally opened the laboratory.

“Energy-related research is a major strategic priority at UWA and reflects the importance of the resources industry to WA and Australia. UWA’s new laboratory and its engagement through the NGL will be a significant contributor to global knowledge addressing these issues.”

Professor Johnson has good reason to be confident.  In addition to UWA’s long standing partnerships with major research organisations including CSIRO and Curtin University to conduct joint studies in this field, the University’s relationship with industry ensure relevance and a path to impact for its research.

UWA's Energy and Minerals Insitute (EMI) played a key role in establishing the NGL. Mark Stickells, EMI’s Deputy Director supported the VC’s statements at the opening event.

“UWA’s researchers and collaborators will conduct high-impact and strategically important research at the new laboratory.  Their research is integral to the future of the Australian energy and resources industries and will deliver benefits around the world,” he said.