Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Earth Sciences Division Staff: Barry Freifeld

Barry Freifeld

Barry Freifeld

Mechanical Engineer



Phone: 510-486-4381

Fax: 510-486-5686


Biographical Summary

Barry Freifeld is a Mechanical Engineer at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he is the principal investigator for numerous projects relating to CO2 sequestration and arctic hydrology. He received his BA in Applied Mathematics (UC Berkeley), his MS in Mechanical Engineering (UC Santa Barbara), and PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering (UC Berkeley, 2001). He is an expert in the development of well-based monitoring instrumentation and techniques. His recent innovations include the U-tube geochemical sampling methodology, as well as thermal perturbation fiber-optic monitoring techniques  for understanding subsurface processes. He has also received a U.S. patent for a portable whole-core x-ray computed tomography imaging system used at continental drill sites and on drilling vessels.

Research Interests

At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory my recent research has focused on: (1) geological sequestration of CO2, particularly field demonstrations in saline and depleted gas aquifers (2) understanding thermal and hydrologic conditions in arctic regions and (3) development of fiber-optic DTS techniques for monitoring subsurface processes. Currently I am the Principal Investigator for collaborations supporting two international carbon storage demonstration projects: the Otway Project in Victoria, Australia and the EU funded CO2SINK program in Ketzin, Germany.


  • Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2001, University of California, Berkeley
  • M.S. Mechanical Engineering, 1992, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • B.A. Applied Mathematics 1989, University of California, Berkeley

Professional Experience

  • Mechanical Engineer, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sept. 1998 - Present
  • Staff Research Associate, Sept.1997 – August 1998
  • Principal Research Associate, March 1995 - August 1997
  • Senior Research Associate, April 1992 - February 1995

Patents and Inventions

  • U-Tube Sampling System—Developed a deep-well sampling methodology for collecting and analyzing fluids maintained at in situ conditions. Techniques for handling multiphase fluid collected at high frequency permit characterization of tracer elution curves for multi-well transport studies. Currently in use or proposed for use in numerous locations in N. America, Greenland, Australia, and Europe.
  • Portable X-ray Core Imager (US Patent 7082185)—A transportable x-ray core imaging system with a novel shielding arrangement that provides for a cabinet-safe system. Using an optimized compensator system enhanced dynamic range while imaging cylindrical objects using the cone-beam geometry is obtained.


Freifeld, B.M., Estimation of Fracture Porosity in an unsaturated fractured welded tuff using gas tracer test, Ph.D. dissertation, U.C. Berkeley, Fall 2001

Honors and Awards

  • 2006 LBNL Outstanding Performance Award– Methane Hydrate Research Team
  • 2006 LBNL Outstanding Performance Award– Frio Brine Pilot Research Team
  • 2004 LBNL Outstanding Performance Award– Transuranic Waste Shipment Team
  • 2003 LBNL Outstanding Performance Award– Engineering Task Force
  • 1998 LBNL Outstanding Performance Award–Contributions to Yucca Mountain Project Field Studies