Premier opens new green technology facility in Townsville

Premier Anna Bligh today officially opened a world-leading algal bio-fuel research and development facility at Townsville's James Cook University, that could hold the key to rapid reductions in carbon emissions from coal fired power stations.

Ms Bligh said the revolutionary algal carbon capture and storage (BIO-CCS) technology is already proving successful in trials and will soon be rolled out at three coal fired power stations, including Tarong Power Station near Kingaroy.

"This technology has the potential to revolutionise carbon capture in Queensland and around the world," Ms Bligh said.

"The facility is doing important work, using algae as a carbon-capture method, which will add to our options in dealing with Co2 emissions.

"Essentially, the algae eats the Co2 and excretes biofuel and stockfeed - so the Co2 is captured and turned into something we can use.

"It's another great example of the ground-breaking research that's occurring in Townsville and throughout Queensland.

"As our state continues to grow and coal remains a key export, it is essential we come up with new ways to manage the impact of that growth on our environment.

"There has been much talk about preventing climate change, but here in Queensland, we are taking action.

"We are getting on with finding solutions through smart state thinking that could open whole new opportunities for our industries, as well as local communities."

Ms Bligh said the 5000 square metre research plant has proven capable of producing 14,000 litres of oil and 25,000 kilograms of algal feed for livestock from every 100 tonnes of carbon consumed.

"My Government kick started this research in May last year with a $160,000 grant and there has also been significant private investment leading to the opening this new facility.

"The emerging success of this project is great news for the people of Townsville, building a reputation for the city as the home of emerging green technology."

The Premier congratulated MBD Energy and James Cook University for leading the world in this research.

"BIO-CCS will now step into the next phase of development with MBD partnering to construct test facilities at our Tarong Energy Power Station, along with two other coal fired power stations in NSW and Victoria.

"MBD will be investing $2.5 million to help bring this technology to life at Tarong Power Station.

"The trial aims to capture 700 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and if successful could expand over the next five to ten years to consume more than half of Tarong's problem flue-gas emissions.

"Its early days for this technology - but this is carbon capture which has massive potential. It's in Queensland's interests to make coal plants cleaner."

MBD Energy Limited Chairman, Jerry Ellis predicted that BIO-CCS and Algal Synthesiser technology would emerge as a vital and viable CO2 abatement technology option for all existing coal and gas fired power stations, smelters and refineries around the world.

"Our fully enclosed and continuous cycle system has been designed to mimic the fundamental processes of the Earth's natural carbon cycle but do the job in a matter of hours rather than millions of years," Mr Ellis said.

"Best of all, the valuable commodities produced by Bio-CCS with an MBD Algal Synthesiser, more than pays for the comparatively modest infrastructure investment required."

James Cook University's Vice Chancellor, Professor Sandra Harding, said that the University's specialist Algal Synthesiser team, led by Professor Rocky de Nys and Associate Professor Kirsten Heimann, have provided a tangible demonstration of the JCU's commitment to high quality and high impact work that will make a difference.

"With the strong support of the Queensland Government we have forged a partnership between academia and industry through MBD Energy which will have long term and far reaching consequences," she said.

"Professor de Nys and Associate Professor Heimann and the team they've pulled together from around the world are helping create a new and sustainable industry that has the potential to be a major contributor to reducing greenhouse gases."

Professor Harding said that the Facility was already creating jobs and providing crucial practical experience for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

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