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AUS$4.8 million in projects signals transformation of energy resources sector

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NERA (National Energy Resources Australia) has approved funding for eight new projects totalling AUS$4.8 million, leading a new stage of innovation and transformation in the energy resources sector.

The projects include initiatives aimed at introducing clean technologies into the sector - a key priority area outlined in NERA's Sector Competitiveness Plan, a 10-year strategic roadmap for Australia's oil, gas, coal and uranium industries. 

NERA chief executive Miranda Taylor said the new projects support NERA’s goal towards maximising value to the Australian economy through an energy resources sector that is sustainable, innovative and diverse.

“With Australia’s energy sector increasingly under pressure from volatile commodity prices and a rapidly evolving global energy mix, it is vital we transform the way our industry operates to stay competitive,” Ms Taylor said.

“We were thrilled by the positive response to our search for clean technology projects. These new initiatives will provide economic and environmental benefits to the end user through innovation and industry partnerships.

"We also committed to fund a number of pivotal projects for the energy resources sector, which we believe will make a significant contribution to Australia's economic future, including the LNG Futures Living Lab and a program which truly equips small businesses when travelling internationally.

“By commercialising fresh ideas and solutions and fostering collaboration between relevant stakeholders, NERA is helping create an agile and flexible energy resources sector that can respond to technological, environmental and societal market forces.”

The successful projects will receive co-funding from NERA’s AUS$15.6 million Project Fund, upon the formalising of contracts.

The full recipient list is detailed below:

University of Western Australia – Living Lab (WA)
NERA and the University of Western Australia are progressing plans for the LNG Futures Facility by committing funds to a feasibility study. The project is aimed at ensuring Australia has the required future skills by co-funding development of the LNG Futures Facility – a national, open-access resource providing direct benefits to Australian industry and researchers across the energy resources sector. It will consist of a fully functioning, highly instrumented LNG plant designed to enable research, training and technology demonstration objectives.

Subcon Technologies Pty Ltd – Rigs to Reefs (WA)
Subcon Technologies’ Exmouth Integrated Artificial Reef prototype repurposes and integrates offshore structures into a purpose-built reef and will further the research and understanding of the benefits of these amenities on our coastline. Integrated Artificial Reefs provide multiple benefits to their communities through habitat enhancement and restoration, as well as recreational fishing, diving and employment opportunities.

Providing alternative proven solutions for decommissioning offshore Australian assets provides industry, regulators and the community with a level of trust in establishing artificial reefs as a viable decommissioning option for the future.

Ali-Jak Environmental Solutions – Reducing Coal Seam Gas Water Treatment Costs (QLD)
Ali-Jak Environmental Solutions is the developer of a unique, low cost, modular, mobile and continuous flow process for efficiently and effectively removing water from liquid and sludge waste streams. The system uses no chemicals and produces clean reusable water and a solid or concentrated liquid product.

Pilot results confirm that introduction of the system will significantly reduce future pondage requirements and associated capital and operating costs for coal seam gas developments. In addition, the environmental footprint and risk will be significantly reduced and the clean water applied for beneficial reuse.

Our Energy Group Pty Ltd – Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (NSW)
New methane capture technology has the potential to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Australian underground coal mines. Our Energy Group’s Dynamic Goaf Balancing System captures mine methane and carbon dioxide before it enters the ventilation system. The captured and concentrated methane gas can then be bought to surface for use in gasfired power generation, industrial use or can be flared.

CD Power Pty Ltd – Hybrid Wellsite Power (SA)
CD Power hope to demonstrate the successful integration of solar, battery storage and gas generation technologies as an economical alternative for low power wellsite applications. The project aims to reduce the carbon footprint and noise emission at these wellsites.

Flinders University – Promoting Local Capabilities in Environmental Assessments (SA)
This project aims to boost capabilities for Australia’s energy resources and METS sectors by developing transferable methods and skills for assessing the radiological impacts of projects. Flinders University will lead a background study of radioactivity of flora and fauna across arid Australia, as well as baseline soil data, so companies required to undertake environmental risk assessments can compare baseline Australian soil values.

Heathgate Resources – Groundwater Compliance Monitoring (SA)
Regulatory groundwater monitoring at the four in-situ recovery operations permitted within South Australia is a costly, resource intensive activity, with results typically delayed by a matter of weeks.

Heathgate Resources will establish a pilot program to install real-time electrochemical and pressure sensors permanently in operating groundwater monitoring wells. If successful, this project will reduce monitoring costs and improve timeliness and environmental outcomes.

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited – Securing Platform Power Supply with Renewable Energy (WA)
Carnegie Clean Energy and Eni Australia are aiming to maintain system security through the integration of renewable energy technology at the Blacktip Wellhead Platform in the Timor Sea. The platform currently makes use of an uninterruptable power supply consisting of turbogenerators feeding a battery bank. The project aims to integrate solar energy technology to reduce the total hours of turbogenerator operation, leading to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and improving system availability. If successful, the innovative approach could provide a model for securing power availability in high-risk offshore environments.

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