Carbon capture technology partnership between UON and global ASCON Group begins
The groundbreaking project seeks to bring a revolutionary carbon capture technology, known as VAMCO (Versatile Advanced Methods of Cleaning Offtake Gases), to market.
ASCON Group, an international oil and commodities trading organization headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, is committed to finding less emissive processes. They have teamed up with Laureate Professor Behdad Moghtaderi at the University of Newcastle to spearhead this $6 million research partnership, which focuses on "Achieving Negative Emissions in the Production of Green Steel and Green Chemicals Using the Versatile Advanced Methods of Cleaning Offtake Gases (VAMCO) Family of Gas Separation Technologies."
VAMCO is a carbon capture technology designed to enable heavy industries to capture their carbon emissions while simultaneously producing environmentally friendly products such as green steel, hydrogen, and ammonia.
Initially developed for point-source capture of fugitive emissions from coal mines, VAMCO now exhibits potential applications in various industries, including coal-fired power stations and steel plants.
Laureate Professor Moghtaderi explains: “The vision underpinning this project is to help drive and accelerate national capabilities in new/emerging CO2 capture technologies which are widely recognised as one of the key pillars of decarbonisation.”
“This could potentially provide an effective short to medium-term (2030-2050) pathway for lowering global GHG emissions. Importantly, such systems are expected to remove CO2 at an indicative cost of about A$50 per tonne as opposed to current costs which vary between A$100/tCO2 and A$300/tCO2 depending on the type of capture technology employed.”
ASCON Group's Decarbonization and Green Innovation Business Director, Nate Macmillan, highlights the significance of carbon capture technologies in helping the fossil fuel industry reach Net Zero by 2030, particularly in unlocking the potential of blue hydrogen production.
One of VAMCO's notable advantages is its lower cost and environmental friendliness, attributed to its use of a proprietary CO2 adsorbent developed by researchers at the University of Newcastle.
The project's roadmap includes the construction of three pilot-scale facilities in 2026 to rigorously test the VAMCO technology before bringing it to market. At least one of these pilot facilities will be located at the planned ASCON Bioenergy with Carbon Capture with Storage (BECCS) site in Scotland.
This project is part of the Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy (TRaCE) program, which aims to accelerate the commercialization of recycling and clean energy technologies. TRaCE, supported by the Australian Government Department of Education, is a collaboration between industry, UNSW Sydney, and the University of Newcastle, with the goal of positioning Australia as a world leader in recycling technology and materials and contributing to the global transition to net-zero emissions.