Australian-first collaboration towards carbon neutrality in coastal developments

27 February 2023

CQUniversity has partnered with Japan’s J-POWER in an Australian-first low carbon nature-based solutions Research and Development collaboration, announced in Tokyo this week.

Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport, the Honorable Stirling Hinchliffe joined J-POWER Executive Vice-President Hitoshi Kanno to attend the signing of a momentous Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

“This joint study will look at the social implementation of low-carbon materials (alternative materials to concrete) that can earn combined absorption and abatement credits from CO2,” Dr Hiroyuki Kagimoto, J-POWER Director of the Chigasaki Research Institute said.

CQUniversity Chair of Hydrogen and Renewable Energies Professor Murray Shearer said the partnership was a win-win for both organisations.

“The interest of J-POWER in the reduction of the carbon footprint of cement and concrete production and their intent to facilitate blue carbon initiatives, is complemented by CQUniversity’s capability in designing and testing concrete mixes using selected recycled materials and expertise in marine ecology across Queensland locations. Altogether it makes this MoU an important first step in developing Japanese-Australian research collaborations,” Professor Shearer said.

“The research will look at the ecological implications of blocks that can be produced from low-carbon materials and promote the growth of marine life through the use of locally-produced waste materials (copper, nickel, zinc slag), and to develop and trial a methodology for crediting the CO2 that is reduced and absorbed through their use.”

CQUniversity’s Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) will conduct laboratory and field trials on the suitability of the material for creating a substrate for marine animals and algae.

On the Japanese side, J-POWER will provide data, know-how and guidance on quality testing of low-carbon materials and sea area demonstration tests, which have already been assessed (2018-2021), as well as jointly evaluating the results.

“By implementing these in society by the time of the 2032 Brisbane Olympics, the project aims to appeal to the world through various efforts towards carbon neutrality,” Dr Hiroyuki Kagimoto said.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner in Tokyo (TIQ), Tak Adachi said he was supportive of building stronger collaborative links with Queensland and Japanese organisations.

“We are excited to be supporting this MoU as a first step for great collaboration in blue carbon research with one of the leading Japanese power companies,” Mr Adachi said.

“We are impressed by CQUniversity’s capacity when it comes to research and industry partnerships and it’s been a pleasure to connect CQU with this opportunity.”