A trial of carbon capturing devices at a Queensland power station has been hailed as successful by the CSIRO.

CSIRO scientists say they have dedicated three years to trialling a special liquid for capturing carbon from the flue at the Tarong Power station, north of Toowoomba. Researchers say the small trial site reduced emissions by 90 per cent using chemical compounds called amines.

CSIRO Scientist Dr Paul Feron says: “The next step is to come up with better technology, better liquids which can absorb more CO2, which take a lot less energy to generate... those are things that we're currently developing in the lab.”

It is an important step in developing techniques to retrofit and improve coal-burning power stations, encouraged by their success the CSIRO team say they will now work to scale up their efforts.

“That's another value that this pilot plant has - small as it may be - but it has that value to these technology vendors as well, that it can validate the technologies which they are also developing themselves,” said Dr Feron, “because eventually those are the guys who are going to build these large-scale capture plants.”

The need to patch-up environmentally destructive old power stations has been approached by many international scientists, including in reports from MIT and the Global Carbon Capture and Sequestration Institute.