ARB Research Seminar

This page updated June 19, 2013

Reducing Emissions in California Through Carbon Capture and Sequestration

S. Julio Friedmann, Ph.D., Carbon Management Program, Energy & Environmental Directorate, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

January 30, 2008
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA



The challenges of meeting the aggressive targets for AB32 and the constraints of SB1368 require a broad and inclusive approach to carbon emissions reduction. Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is a critical technology pathway for the state of California in achieving steep GHG reductions. It involves the capture, separation, and compression of CO₂ from industrial flue streams to high concentrations (~95%). It then involves transportation of CO₂, usually by pipeline, to sequestration sites, where it is injected into deep geological formations. These formations must have demonstrable injectivity, capacity, and long-term effectiveness in order qualify as viable storage sites. A great deal of knowledge and experience comes from direct sequestration experience, but also analogous industrial activities such as acid gas disposal, CO₂ enhanced oil recovery, oil and gas exploration and production, and natural gas storage. Enough is known about the physics, chemistry, and operation of potential sites to safely and effectively characterize, develop, operate, monitor, and close a large-scale CCS project.

CCS technology will be particularly helpful in managing emissions from coal plants out of state under SB1368. However, California's mix of power generation and industry also provides major opportunities for CCS that will help achieve AB32 goals and protect the state economy. There are four major sector where CCS could have a major role

-Refineries: Capturing GHG emissions form refineries would help to meet low-carbon fuel standards, reduce criteria pollutant emissions, and increase production without emissions. It would also help retain this key state industry. The hydrogen plants from refineries provide pure streams of CO₂ that could be readily sequestered at very low costs.

-Cement: Cement manufacturing inherently creates CO₂, and cement plants have high concentration emissions. The absence of CCS will drive CA cement manufacturers offshore, both increasing cost of materials in state and increasing net emissions overall.

-Gas-fired power generation: California uses baseload natural gas for power and accounts for approximately 7% of total annual state greenhouse gas emissions and 32% of the state's annual greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation. Using post-combustion capture or oxy-fired combustion, CCS is viable for many of these plants today and could dramatically reduce this sector's emissions.

-Biofuels: Ethanol production also creates pure streams of CO₂ ready for injection underground. Sequestration of these streams would further reduce the carbon footprint of biofuels by nearly 35%. In addition, application of CCS to biomass electrical production can create a NEGATIVE emissions power plant.

The activities discussed cost more than the free release of greenhouse gases, which will increase wholesale and retail costs for electricity and products in the state. The cost of CCS implementation is comparable to new-builds for biofuels, wind, and new nuclear, and as such should be considered among options for emissions management. Thankfully, the state is endowed with a terrific sequestration resource, large geological formations well suited to indefinite storage of CO₂.

Speaker Biography

S. Julio Friedmann, Ph.D., is currently appointed as Carbon Management Program Leader for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, he leads initiatives and research into carbon capture, carbon storage, and fossil fuel recovery and utilization. In this role, he has submitted Congressional testimony for the US Senate and California and Wisconsin State Assemblies and testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Published in Foreign Affairs and the New York Times, he has worked with the EPA, USGS, many private companies, many NGOs, and Dept. of Energy. Dr. Friedmann was invited by MIT to join their team on the Future of Coal Energy Report and helped assemble the National Petroleum Council report on the future of oil and gas in the US. Recently, he played major roles in the AB1925 document on CCS to the California state assembly and the World Resources Institute draft guidelines for site characterization, operation, and closure. Dr. Friedmann's research interests include carbon sequestration, underground coal gasification, hydrocarbon systems, deep-water depositional systems, basin & range tectonics and sedimentation, sequence stratigraphy, and landslide physics. A native of Rhode Island, he has worked in California, Washington, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Spain, Ireland, the North Sea, Nigeria, Angola, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, and Australia.

Dr. Friedmann received his B.S and M.S. degrees from M.I.T., followed by a Ph.D. at the Univ. So. California. After graduation, he worked for five years as a senior research scientist in Houston, first at Exxon and later ExxonMobil. Dr. Friedmann next worked as a research scientist at the University of Maryland, affiliated with the Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI) at the Univ. of Maryland, and the Colorado Energy Research Institute at Colorado School of Mines.

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