Australia’s Woodside is collaborating with the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) near Perth, Western Australia, on a pilot project to recycle greenhouse gases into useful products.

The proposed carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) facility would convert greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide into value-added ethanol, using technologies developed by US-based companies ReCarbon and LanzaTech.

The project aims to demonstrate the potential of these technologies to contribute to decarbonisation and a circular carbon economy.

Woodside is looking to lease land that would enable it to use EMRC’s Red Hill Waste Management Eco Park for the proposed project, for which ERMC would provide landfill gas to Woodside.

If Woodside finds a viable site, exercising the option to lease and construct the CCU plant is subject to the company taking the final investment decision. The FID is being targeted in the second half of this year with the aim of completing and commissioning the project in the second half of 2024.

Two key elements

Woodside chief executive Meg O’Neill welcomed the collaboration with EMRC and the shared drive to explore the potential of CCU.

“Woodside believes CCU is an emerging field as customers seek lower-carbon solutions. Our climate strategy has two key elements: reducing our net equity Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions and investing in the products and services that our customers need as they too reduce their emissions,” O’Neill said.

“CCU has the potential to contribute to both elements of our climate strategy. To have a pilot CCU facility right here in Western Australia, where Woodside has pioneered other technologies, is also very exciting,” she said.

EMRC chairman councillor Mel Congerton said: “[This]… exciting development aims to radically change the way we approach our aspirations of net-zero emissions. It is a major step forward on the journey towards sustainable protection of the environment we all share.

“This collaboration between a regional local government and a global energy company supports the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goal 17 — ‘To strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise partnerships for sustainable development’.”