Monday, November 16th, 2009

Researchers from The University of Queensland (Australia) are working with international energy storage company Bicarb Sequestration Pty to study the feasibility of using land-bound salt beds as a medium for isolating carbon dioxide (CO2) as solid carbonates/bicarbonates underground.

UniQuest, the University’s main commercialisation company, facilitated the contract for the chemical engineering team to spend six months on establishing a principle for using a solution mining-based process to enable CO2 to be converted into carbonates/bicarbonates (mostly NaH CO3) and then stored underground.

Should the initial research prove successful, the research will be extended to establish the optimum operating conditions and optimum process equipment to allow a preliminary design for a pilot plant to be created and initial economic analysis conducted.

Bicarb Sequestration Pty is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sirius Exploration Plc (AIM: SXX, OTC: SRUXY), a diversified mining and exploration holding company focused on salt and potash deposits in North America and Australia.

Sirius chairman, Richard Poulden, said the company was confident about the potential outcomes of the contract research project.

“We are naturally optimistic that the approach being proposed by our Bicarb Sequestration division will be able to overcome the issues previously encountered when research teams have looked into the possibilities of converting CO2 into carbonates in an onshore environment,” Mr Poulden said.

“This program forms part of Sirius’s ongoing research activity to identify second generation commercial applications for our properties that can be deployed after the mining activity has concluded. Indeed, we firmly believe that we have the opportunity to identify new approaches that can complement those that have already been proven for using salt beds and caverns as mediums for serving the green energy agenda.

“We are keen to obtain key intellectual property in these new areas to complement our mining activity and this project forms part of those efforts.”

The CO2 sequestering project is one of many contracts UniQuest has negotiated to partner with industry on finding solutions to environmental and economic sustainability challenges, said Managing Director, David Henderson.

“Our Consulting and Research Division has opened up new opportunities for companies in Australia and overseas to connect with Australia’s leading researchers working in specialist and multi-disciplinary teams,” Mr Henderson said.

“Companies like Sirius and its subsidiary, Bicarb Sequestration, recognise the value of university-based research and innovation as leverage to boost their market position and contribution to addressing global issues. We are pleased to be able to provide access to the resources they need to help them achieve these objectives.”

UniQuest has facilitated more than 600 consultancy, expert witness and research contracts on behalf of University of Queensland researchers this year.

Contact Profile

UniQuest Pty Limited

Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups, benchmarking in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide. From an intellectual property portfolio of 1,500+ patents it has created over 60 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $400 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are running at $3 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, Mater Medical Research Institute, and Queensland Health. UniQuest also provides access to an expansive and exclusive network of independent academics to tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the diverse needs of industry and government, facilitating some 500 consulting, expert opinion, testing, and contract research services each year.

UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance recognised for excellence in technical leadership, management and research. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented more than 400 projects in 46 countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa.

Leanne Wyvill
P: +61 7 3365 4037
M: +61 0 409767199

Sirius and Bicarb Sequestration

Sirius is quoted on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in London and its shares are also traded in North America through the use of an ADR facility. Sirius currently has interests in potash and salt caverns through its subsidiaries Dakota Salts LLC, AusPotash Limited, Adavale Holdings Pty Ltd and Derby Salt Pty Ltd. It also has copper and gold interests in Macedonia and an iron ore interest through its equity position in a CIC Mining Resources Ltd vehicle. For more information, visit

Bicarb Sequestration, specialising in creating and implementing functionable sequestration of bicarbonate for multiple industry uses, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sirius Exploration Plc. Its primary focus is on addressing existing capture opportunities followed by legislatively driven climate change market. For more information visit
Toby Hall
P: +44 (0)20 7153 8039


This project is an excellent example of how UQ researchers are helping companies address the challenges of 'green energy' economics and sustainability.



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