The University of Melbourne has entered into a multi-year partnership agreement with Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd (HPPL) to develop Carbelec™, a technology that uses electrolysis at low temperature to convert carbon dioxide into reusable carbon and oxygen.
Carbelec is a potential game changer for industries such as steelmaking as it would enable the constant capture and re-use of carbon, balancing ongoing demands for production with the reduction of CO2 emissions in line with government mandates across the globe, the university said.
By capturing and reusing the carbon in a closed cycle, many existing efficient and proven processes will become essentially zero emission. This has the potential to speed-up decarbonisation by removing the challenges of introducing numerous bespoke solutions, according to the university. It is expected that commercial applications of Carbelec would utilise proven renewable energy sources to power the electrolysis process.
The University of Melbourne has successfully demonstrated Carbelec within its laboratories, it said. The partnership with HPPL will enable refinement and then scaling up of Carbelec over a two-stage developmental program.
University of Melbourne’s Dean of Engineering and Information Technology, Professor Mark Cassidy, said: “This partnership will allow University of Melbourne researchers and Hancock Prospecting to establish a comprehensive research and development program which addresses core components to develop this exciting technology. Our aim is to combine our world-leading research expertise with Hancock Prospecting’s ability for real-world practical deployment and, together, develop this technology on an industrial scale.”
Hancock Prospecting Chief Executive Officer, Garry Korte, said the potential benefits of Carbelec should be significant and far-reaching, noting that steelmakers could continue to benefit from the reliable and consistent supply of Pilbara ores, while also achieving their decarbonisation goals with both current and emerging steel technologies.
“Hancock Prospecting’s pioneering spirit is backed by a strong history of successfully partnering in innovative solutions to meet the needs of customers,” he said. “We believe Carbelec can be an important part of a future low-cost energy mix, allowing industries such as steel, cement and even current day baseload power generators to continue to lift the living standards of people in Australia and worldwide.”