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CSIRO Launches Programme to Tackle Climate Change

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has recently revealed the launch of its CarbonLock research programme, which has a budget of AU$ 20 million. This initiative seeks to explore novel and inventive approaches to extract carbon from the atmosphere and securely store it for the long term.

CarbonLock is part of a collection of programs within CSIRO known as Future Science Platforms (FSPs). The primary objective of FSPs is to identify and explore emerging fields of science with the potential to generate significant breakthroughs in the future.

The focus of CarbonLock is to investigate how Australia can develop negative emissions technologies (NETs) that can efficiently capture and sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Such technologies are critical components of the toolkit required to tackle climate change and mitigate the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale.

The director of the CarbonLock programme at CSIRO has highlighted the crucial role that NETs will play in Australia’s transition to a net-zero emissions future. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the development of efficient NETs is essential in achieving the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

The CarbonLock programme, therefore, aims to contribute to this effort by researching and developing next-generation permanent carbon storage methods that complement existing nature-based carbon storage solutions and geological Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) techniques. Through this research, the programme seeks to offer valuable insights and solutions that can support Australia and the global community in mitigating the impact of climate change.

CarbonLock is also undertaking research on Direct Air Capture (DAC), which is an emerging technology that captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it for future use or disposal. The program’s research will explore new materials that can accelerate and expand the DAC process, including training artificial intelligence to develop advanced composite materials.

Additionally, CarbonLock is investigating the potential of in-situ mineral carbonation, which involves converting atmospheric carbon into rock by reacting it with minerals to create new rock formations. This area of research presents a significant opportunity for Australia.

According to CSIRO Chief Scientist, CarbonLock is a comprehensive program that encompasses all aspects of next-generation permanent carbon storage. This includes research on carbon capture, carbon storage, and the integration of these systems, which will complement other CSIRO initiatives like the Toward Net Zero Mission. Professor Fox further stated that CarbonLock exemplifies CSIRO’s commitment to driving scientific advancements and collaborating with partners to develop innovative solutions that address the threat of climate change. The program aims to leverage the best of Australia’s scientific capabilities to transform industries, boost the economy, and enhance the quality of life for all Australians.

In conclusion, CarbonLock is an ambitious research program that seeks to develop new and innovative technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it permanently. By exploring emerging technologies like Direct Air Capture and in-situ mineral carbonation, the program aims to offer valuable solutions to support Australia’s transition to a net-zero emissions future, and contribute to global efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

CSIRO’s Future Science Platforms (FSPs) cover a range of exciting and emerging fields of science, including Immune Resilience, which focuses on the development of technologies to prevent, protect, and respond to emerging health threats.

Another FSP, Revolutionary Energy Storage Systems, aims to unlock the secrets of efficient and safe energy storage. Environomics is yet another FSP that leverages genomics, bioinformatics, and nano-technology to revolutionise how we measure and monitor ecosystem health, changes, and threats. These initiatives are crucial in advancing scientific knowledge and developing innovative solutions to address global challenges.


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