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For Immediate Release: May 6, 2008
Media Contact: Adam Gottlieb - 916-654-4989

California Awarded $65 Million to Fight Global Warming
Carbon Sequestration and Storage to be Studied at Bakersfield Pilot Site

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission today received $65.6 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (WESTCARB) research. WESTCARB is one of seven research partnerships co-funded by DOE to explore carbon sequestration opportunities and conduct regional carbon storage field tests.

"By demonstrating how greenhouse gas emissions can be safely contained through carbon sequestration, we make strides to curb the effects of global warming," said Energy Commission Vice Chair James Boyd. "Using the newest carbon capture and storage technology, California can show how environmental and industrial concerns are working together for the same cause."

WESTCARB will use the funding announced today to begin a geologic carbon dioxide (CO2) storage pilot project. The project, located 18 miles north of Bakersfield in Kimberlina (Kern County), will safely inject one million tons of compressed CO2, a major greenhouse gas, into potential geologic storage formations 7,000 feet beneath a 50-megawatt zero-emission power plant. The plant, owned by Clean Energy Systems (CES), uses natural or synthesis gas in an oxyfuel system to produce a relatively pure CO2 stream. The proposed test would inject the entire exhaust stream of the CES plant over a period of four years, beginning in 2011.

Depleted oil reservoirs and similar geologic saline formations may have new importance as secure storage sites for CO2. To realize the full potential of CES' pollution-free technology, the nearly pure CO2 exhaust must be pumped into porous geologic formations underlying solid caprocks or other geologic seals that will hold it in place.

The total project cost is $90,594,099 with DOE contributing $65,606,584 and $24,987,515 coming from WESTCARB partners.

The Kimberlina project has the potential to remove one million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next four years, which could bring California closer to achieving its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. Additionally, WESTCARB's pilot project demonstrates a real-world application for carbon capture and sequestration; the technology can be successfully demonstrated to California utilities and industrial sources (i.e. cement plants and refineries) producing CO2 emissions that contribute to global warming.

The pilot project's approach is similar to injecting CO2 for enhanced oil recovery in Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Injecting CO2 is currently being practiced in Norway and Algeria and is being tested by researchers around the world.

Throughout the project, WESTCARB researchers will use a combination of sophisticated oil industry techniques and research-grade instruments for "seeing" the injected CO2 plume as it is distributed throughout the rock pores. Results will be compared with computer models that predict its underground behavior, allowing for the validation and improvement of modeling techniques that can subsequently be used on other projects. Researchers will continue monitoring the site after the conclusion of injection operations as part of an environmental stewardship phase of the project.

Funding awarded today was the third and final phase of funding to be administered by DOE. In 2003 under the first phase of funding, WESTCARB was awarded $1.6 million to develop scoping and modeling plans that examine regulations and infrastructure requirements for the conducting testing in the region. As part of Phase II funding in 2005, WESTCARB received $14 million to conduct two CO2 storage tests in California and one in Arizona, assess the storage potential for two additional geologic formations; conduct terrestrial sequestration pilot projects in Lake County, Oregon, and Shasta County, Calif.; and disseminate the results.


WESTCARB, led by the California Energy Commission, demonstrates ways to sequester CO2 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to global climate change. WESTCARB comprises more than 70 organizations from state and provincial resource management and environmental protection agencies; national laboratories and research institutions; colleges and universities; conservation non-profits; oil and gas companies; power companies; pipeline companies; trade associations; vendors and service firms; and consultants.

WESTCARB partners include: Clean Energy Systems, Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, the University of California's Office of the President, Stanford University, the California Geological Survey, the oilfield services firm, Schlumberger, and other public and private research entities.

For the recent news release from the DOE, visit http://www.doe.gov/news/6231.htm

For more information about WESTCARB visit www.westcarb.org

For the new California Climate Change portal , visit www.climatechange.ca.gov

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