Clean Fossil Energy
Despite global efforts to transition away from carbon-emitting energy sources like coal, oil, and natural gas, fossil fuels are projected to lead the global energy mix for the foreseeable future. Until the bridge to renewable energy is crossed, PNNL scientists and engineers are dedicated to reducing the environmental impacts of hydrocarbon production and use, especially emissions—including greenhouse gases produced by fossil fuels—on Earth's atmosphere
From fundamental process understanding to field-scale design and deployment, our researchers deliver advanced capabilities in subsurface science and simulation to enable safe and effective control of subsurface fluid injection and extraction. We also integrate chemistry, materials, and process engineering to develop technologies that more efficiently convert fossil hydrocarbons into power, fuels, and chemicals—all critical to environmentally and economically viable production and use of fossil energy.
The Environmental Protection Agency and PNNL have established an agreement to use and customize PNNL-developed software in the evaluation of permits for geological sequestration. Under the agreement, Velo will be used for reporting, data management, and collaboration.
Using computer simulations, PNNL researchers discovered that carbon sequestering minerals can form without water-slurping carbonic acid; rather, a water layer forms on a mineral's surface, leaving atomic voids that carbon dioxide fills and mineralizes in minutes.
Over the past decade, governments and utilities have been looking at how carbon capture technologies can reduce greenhouse gases. Now, with a DOE Early Career Research Program award, PNNL researcher Dave Heldebrant is building off of earlier research progress to not only improve the efficiency of carbon dioxide capture, but also to convert it into useful fuels and chemicals.