Some of the nation's biggest polluting industries could be one step closer to having net-zero emissions, thanks to new Canberra-based research.
Scientists at the Australian National University's Heavy Industry Low-Carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre are researching new ways to make products such as steel and aluminium using renewable energy like wind and solar.
The centre recently received $39 million from the federal government to be used over the next 10 years on developing "green steel", along with other carbon-neutral technologies.
Associate Professor John Pye from the university's College of Engineering and Computer Science said the technology could lead to large reductions of greenhouse gases.
As part of the research, scientists will work with several heavy industry producers of materials like steel and cement in areas of regional Australia.
"We're looking at processes for making green steel using renewable energy like solar and wind, which if implemented could eliminate up to 9 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions," Associate Professor Pye said.
"Steel production inherently uses a lot of coal and it's a very mature industry and it is hard to transition, and so a lot needs to be done.
"Australia is a big exporter of iron ore, so as this program goes forward we'll partner with big tech companies to see how we can work together." Associate professor Pye said renewable technologies such as hydrogen were also being investigated.
"We'll be able to do modelling and calculations to see what a large-scale hydrogen supply looks like," he said.
"There's also economic and engineering aspects, and a whole lot of trade aspects [for green steel], and we have to get some of our big trading partners to come along for the ride as well."
It's estimated heavy industries account for 20 per cent of Australian emissions.
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