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  • Australia has embarked on a process of potential commitment through the Kyoto Protocol to contain growth in greenhouse gas emissions to 8% between 1990 and the reporting period of 2008 - 2012. The target is well below the estimated growth of about 28% under the `business as usual' condition. Australia's greenhouse gas inventory estimates that 502 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents were emitted in the base year of 1990. This report examines over 175 candidate options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to identify their technical feasibility, cost per tonne of carbon dioxide avoided and capability to reduce emissions under Australian conditions. The candidate options were not intended to represent an exhaustive list but they encompass major and some lesser options being canvassed in Australia and overseas. Preferred options were selected on their performance towards the criteria of technical feasibility, cost and capability.

  • Recent national and state assessments have concluded that sedimentary formations that underlie or are within the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) may be suitable for the storage of greenhouse gases. These same formations contain methane and naturally generated carbon dioxide that has been trapped for millions of years. The Queensland government has released exploration permits for Greenhouse Gas Storage in the Bowen and Surat basins. An important consideration in assessing the potential economic, environmental, health and safety risks of such projects is the potential impact CO2 migrating out of storage reservoirs could have on overlying groundwater resources. The risk and impact of CO2 migrating from a greenhouse gas storage reservoir into groundwater cannot be objectively assessed without knowledge of the natural baseline characteristics of the groundwater within these systems. Due to the phase behaviour of CO2, geological storage of carbon dioxide in the supercritical state requires depths greater than 800m, but there are no hydrochemical studies of such deeper aquifers in the prospective storage areas. Geoscience Australia (GA) and the Geological Survey of Queensland (GSQ), Queensland Department of Mines and Energy, worked collaboratively under the National Geoscience Agreement (NGA) to characterise the regional hydrochemistry of the Denison Trough and Surat Basin and trialled different groundwater monitoring strategies. The output from this Project constitutes part of a regional baseline reference set for future site-specific and semi-regional monitoring and verification programmes conducted by geological storage proponents. The dataset provides a reference of hydrochemistry for future competing resource users.

  • A Bayesian inversion technique to determine the location and strength of trace gas emissions from a point source in open air is presented. It was tested using atmospheric measurements of nitrous oxide (N2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) released at known rates from a source located within an array of eight evenly spaced sampling points on a 20 m radius circle. The analysis requires knowledge of concentration enhancement downwind of the source and the normalized, three-dimensional distribution (shape) of concentration in the dispersion plume. The influence of varying background concentrations of ~1% for N2O and ~10% for CO2 was removed by subtracting upwind concentrations from those downwind of the source to yield only concentration enhancements. Continuous measurements of turbulent wind and temperature statistics were used to model the dispersion plume. The analysis localized the source to within 0.8 m of the true position and the emission rates were determined to better than 3% accuracy. This technique will be useful in assurance monitoring for geological storage of CO2 and for applications requiring knowledge of the location and rate of fugitive emissions.

  • This animation has been developed by Geoscience Australia to illustrate the carbon dioxide capture, transportation and storage process. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is one of the technologies that we can use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, particularly from sources such as coal or natural gas fired power stations and industrial plants. In this process carbon dioxide (CO2) is captured at the source (e.g. power station), transported via pipeline and injected deep underground into a porous rock, such as sandstone. There it is trapped by the overlying fine grained and impermeable mud rocks.

  • In July 2010 Geoscience Australia and CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research jointly commissioned a new atmospheric composition monitoring station (' Arcturus') in central Queensland. The facility is designed as a proto-type remotely operated `baseline monitoring station' such as could be deployed in areas that are likely targets for commercial scale carbon capture and geological storage (CCS). It is envisaged that such a station could act as a high quality reference point for later in-fill, site based, atmospheric monitoring associated with geological storage of CO2. The station uses two wavelength scanned cavity ringdown instruments to measure concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), water vapour and the isotopic signature (?13C) of CO2. Meteorological parameters such as wind speed and wind direction are also measured. In combination with CSIRO's TAPM (The Air Pollution Model), data will be used to understand the local variations in CO2 and CH4 and the contributions of natural and anthropogenic sources in the area to this variability. The site is located in a region that supports cropping, grazing, cattle feedlotting, coal mining and gas production activities, which may be associated with fluxes of CO2 and CH4. We present in this paper some of the challenges found during the installation and operation of the station in a remote, sub-tropical environment and how these were resolved. We will also present the first results from the site coupled with preliminary modelling of the relative contribution of large point source anthropogenic emissions and their contribution to the background.

  • <p>Geoscience Australia in collaboration with the CO2CRC hosted three controlled subsurface release experiments of CO2 during 2012 to 2013 at an agricultural research station managed by CSIRO Plant Industry Canberra. The facility was designed to simulate surface emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases from the soil into the atmosphere, and has deployed a range of near-surface monitoring techniques in the pursuit of improving detection and quantification methods and technologies. This product, which encompasses 4 geodatabases, a metadata report and a data dictionary, presents all the data collected during the experiments from over 10 research organisations, and is made to use with GIS software. The intention of this data release is make the data available for comparison with measurements taken at other controlled release experiments, CO2 storage projects and natural analogues. This will hopefully facilitate the further development of greenhouse gas monitoring technologies, methods and monitoring strategies and increase our understanding of the migration behaviour and impact of near surface CO2 leakage. <p>The contents of each geodatabase/experiment is summarised below: <p>Release 1 (Feb-May 2012): <p>- Soil microbial data <p>- Soil chemistry <p>- Free air CO2 concentration <p>- Eddy covariance <p>- Groundwater chemistry <p>- Soil gas <p>- Krypton tracers <p>- EM31 <p>- Soil flux <p>Release 2 (Oct-Dec 2012): <p>- Groundwater chemistry <p>- EM31 <p>- EM38 <p>- Soil gas <p>- Soil flux <p>- Airborne hyperspectral <p>- Ground hyperspectral <p>Release 3 (Oct-Dec 2013): <p>- Mobile CO2 surveys <p>- Groundwater depth <p>- Eddy covariance <p>- Plant physiology and chemistry <p>- EM31 <p>- EM38 <p>- Soil gas <p>- Soil flux <p>- Airborne hyperspectral <p>All Releases: <p>- Aerial images <p>- Groundwater depths <p>- Meteorological data <p>Bibliographic reference: <p>Feitz, A.J., Schroder, I.F., Jenkins, C.J., Schacht, U., Zegelin, S., Berko, H., McGrath, A., Noble, R., Palu, T.J., George, S., Heath, C., Zhang, H., Sirault, X. and Jimenez-Berni, J. 2016. Ginninderra Controlled CO2 Release Facility Dataset 2012-2013. eCat 90078, Geoscience Australia and CO2CRC, Canberra. http://pid.geoscience.gov.au/dataset/ga/90078. <p>Digital Object Identifier: http://dx.doi.org/10.4225/25/5823c37333f9d

  • There is increasing recognition that minimising methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is a key step in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions in the near term. Atmospheric monitoring techniques are likely to play an important future role in measuring the extent of existing emissions and verifying emission reductions. They can be very suitable for monitoring gas fields as they are continuous and integrate emissions from a number of potential point and diffuse sources that may vary in time. Geoscience Australia and CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research have collected three years of continuous methane and carbon dioxide measurements at their atmospheric composition monitoring station ('Arcturus') in the Bowen Basin, Australia. Methane signals in the Bowen Basin are likely to be influenced by cattle production, landfill, coal production, and conventional and coal seam gas (CSG) production. Australian CSG is typically 'dry' and is characterised by a mixed thermogenic-biogenic methane source with an absence of C3-C6+ alkanes. The range of '13C isotopic signatures of the CSG is similar to methane from landfill gas and cattle emissions. The absence of standard in-situ tracers for CSG fugitive emissions suggests that having a comprehensive baseline will be critical for successful measurement of fugitive emissions using atmospheric techniques. In this paper we report on the sensitivity of atmospheric techniques for the detection of fugitive emissions from a simulated new CSG field against a three year baseline signal. Simulation of emissions was performed for a 1-year period using the coupled prognostic meteorological and air pollution model TAPM at different fugitive emission rates (i.e. estimates of <1% to up to 10% of production lost) and distances (i.e. 10 - 50 km) from the station. Emissions from the simulated CSG field are based on well density, production volumes, and field size typical of CSG fields in Australia. The distributions of the perturbed and baseline signals were evaluated and statistically compared to test for the presence of fugitive methane emissions. In addition, a time series model of the methane baseline was developed in order to generate alternative realizations of the baseline signal. These were used to provide measures of both the likelihood of detecting fugitive emissions at various emission levels and of the false alarm rate. Results of the statistical analysis and an indicative minimum fugitive methane emission rate that can be detected using a single monitoring station are presented. Poster presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting, December 2013, San Francisco

  • The first large-scale projects for geological storage of carbon dioxide on the Australian mainland are likely to occur within sedimentary sequences that underlie or are within the Triassic-Cretaceous, Great Artesian Basin (GAB) aquifer sequence. Recent national1 and state2 assessments have concluded that certain deep formations within the GAB show considerable geological suitability for the storage of greenhouse gases. These same formations contain trapped methane and naturally generated CO2 stored for millions of years. In July 2010, the Queensland government released exploration permits for Greenhouse Gas Storage in the Surat and Galilee basins.An important consideration in assessing the potential economic, environmental, health and safety risks of such projects is the potential impact CO2 migrating out of storage reservoirs could have on overlying groundwater resources. The risk and impact of CO2 migrating from a greenhouse gas storage reservoir into groundwater cannot be objectively assessed without knowledge of the natural baseline characteristics of the groundwater within these systems. Due to the phase behaviour of CO2, geological storage of carbon dioxide in the supercritical state requires depths greater than 800m, but there are few hydrogeochemical studies of these deeper aquifers in the prospective storage areas. Historical hydrogeochemical data are compiled from various State and Federal Government agencies. In addition, hydrogeochemical information is compiled from thousands of petroleum well completion reports in order to obtain more information on the deeper aquifers, not typically used for agriculture or human consumption. The data are passed through a QC procedure to check for mud contamination and to ascertain whether a representative sample had been collected. The large majority of the samples proved to be contaminated but a small selection passed the QC criteria. The full dataset is available for download from GA's Virtual Dataroom. Oral presentation at "Groundwater 2010" Conference, 31 October - 4 November 2010, Canberra

  • Geological storage of greenhouse gases is one approach that the Australian Government is pursuing to assist Australia, and the world, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Understanding the geology of Australia's sedimentary basins and their potential for greenhouse gas storage is an important component of Geoscience Australia's work in supporting emission reductions.

  • Monitoring is an important aspect in verifying the integrity of the geological storage of greenhouse gases. Geoscience Australia is working with CSIRO, the CO2CRC, the Australian National University, the University of Adelaide and the University of Wollongong to develop and evaluate new techniques to detect and quantify greenhouse gas emissions.