Name: Freddy Garcia
Education: MSc. in Process Engineering from ENSIC in France
Marital status: Married
Affiliation to TCM: Technology Manager 2020 – 2022, Business Development Manager 2022 – 2023, seconded from TotalEnergies
He did not let the Norwegian winter stop him
Freddy Garcia was born and raised in Venezuela. Intimidation was an option the first time he had to drive a car in really snowy weather, but he kept going – for a job interview at TCM.
When he soon leaves the company, he is many experiences richer, not only about the Norwegian climate but especially about carbon capture, and why listening to people’s problems is the first step towards net zero.
– What was the background for your interest in CO2 capture?
– As part of my previous position in TotalEnergies, I had the opportunity to be part of the team building knowledge related to other parts of the CCUS chain, mainly on CO2 conditioning, transportation by ship and pipeline and injection wells. From that point of view, CO2 capture was the final piece of the puzzle missing for me to have a complete view of the whole chain. In addition, being a chemical engineer by education, with several years of experience in the upstream industry, going into carbon capture technologies seemed also like a natural transition.
– How was your first meeting with TCM?
– Let me start with the preamble to that meeting. As a south American living in France, my experience with snow was very limited. On the day of my first meeting, I was on my way to TCM, in the middle of February with temperature below zero, driving in the snow for the first time, stuck in traffic because there was a traffic accident along the way due to the icing conditions. So, I told myself that it must be extremely interesting opportunity for me to move and live under these extreme conditions. A couple of hours later I was convinced to accept the offer, after meeting with the highly motivated TCM team, walking along these state-of-the-art facilities, and understanding the impact on the society of the work that TCM does every day.
– How would you describe your job as Business Development Manager?
– Our job in Business Development at TCM is basically to talk to people, listen to what problem they have and then identify ways that TCM can help. The people we talk to are mainly technology developers and emitters, but in the future, it can be many other types of organizations. The problems they have are often the scale up of the technology (for technology developers), or the need to decarbonize their activities (for emitters). The ways TCM can help are simply by opening our facilities for testing or by sharing the knowledge we have developed through our 11 years of operations.
– What will you highlight as the most rewarding and interesting work you have taken part in at TCM?
– I would have to say that it is whenever we go for external activities, like conferences, and you meet all these people that already know TCM and what we can do, and they are excited to be able to talk to us. At that moment you are reminded of the importance of what we do at TCM. That is for me one of the more rewarding parts of our work.
– What would you say has been particularly demanding in the work with capturing CO2?
– Carbon capture is a global effort. That means that the stakeholders are all around the world and as such we need to be available to meet people at any time. Thus, I would say that the hardest part is the very long working days, when you start very early in the morning to have meetings with Asia, work during the day and then having night meetings with the west coast in North America. And that happens more frequently than you would imagine.
– In general, looking back since the start in 2012, what do people that worked at TCM, or are still working there, have reason to be proud of?
– It is very easy to state the obvious, which is that TCM has helped mature technologies necessary to reduce our emissions, and that TCM personnel must be proud of that. However, it can be a bit reductive since people that were not directly involved on the campaigns may feel excluded. I believe that all people who has been part of TCM or collaborating with TCM in one way or another must be proud, from the technical and administrative personnel to TCM representatives involved with TCM, to our external partners across the world. They are all important to help TCM achieve its final goal, which is help society in their path to a decarbonized future.
– In regards to CCS, capturing CO2 is considered the most technically complicated and demanding part of the process. In Norway, two capture facilities are now being built, one in Brevik and one at Klemetsrud in Oslo. Have you thought about how TCM can help these projects succeed?
– These projects are now in a situation that I like to call “delivery mode”, meaning they don’t have the time to do anything else other than solving the issues that appear along the way, as soon as possible, to avoid impacting the planning and startup date. The best way that TCM can help these projects is to be ready to provide as much expertise as possible when these issues arise (and they will), helping them to deliver the project on the expected date. With all the years of experience at TCM, we most likely have the answers they will need.
– TCM has solved several challenges related to amine technology by MEA campaigns, for example amine aerosol emissions, continuous measurements of amine to air, etc. What other technical topics do you think are still lacking testing and good solutions, and how can TCM play an important role in this?
– From a technology point of view, today there is no blocking point preventing deployment of solvent-based technologies. The barriers are elsewhere, and one of them is the cost of the capture. This is where TCM testing can play a role, demonstrating options for cost reduction and the interactions between them, typically fine-tuning solvents compositions, absorber inter cooling, lean vapor compression, or intensification equipment like rotating packed beds. And of course, once the first wave of capture projects are started, like Brevik CCS, Klemetsrud and others, there will be learnings and new ideas for optimization that need to be demonstrated at TCM scale before they can be implemented in the real plant.
One last area where TCM can play an important role is on helping demonstrate other type of technologies for carbon capture different from the classical solvent-based technologies. Even though they are one of the most mature technologies, amines will not the best option for all sites that need to be decarbonized. What the emitters need is a whole range of technologies readily available so that they can chose the one that is the best fit for their constraints specific to their site, which might range from footprint limitations, to extremely constraint emission limits, lack of steam, or the dynamics of the system. This is why TCM’s Site for emerging technologies is such a success: with its personnel experienced in test planning, module installation, execution, operating and troubleshooting of test campaigns, we help the technology developers to maximize the value they get from the test, with much smaller downtime than they would get by testing elsewhere.
– What is your wish for TCM in the years to come?
– As I mentioned before, carbon capture technologies that work are available today. While the existing ones can be improved, and new technologies will certainly appear in the future, we need to deploy the ones we have today as soon as possible. I’m truly convinced that TCM can have a huge impact on accelerating this deployment. My wish for TCM in the years to come is to find a way to unlock all its potential for knowledge sharing and dissemination. In my opinion this would be a game changer for the industry.