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Energy and Environment Directorate

Research Capabilities

Geologic Controls

Staff within the Geosciences Group have vast experience in characterizing surface and subsurface environments and interpreting the geologic, geochemical, and hydrogeologic controls on:

  • fate and transport of contaminants
  • storage reservoirs, and
  • energy / economic resources.

Understanding the physical, chemical, and hydrologic features and processes within soil and subsurface environments are essential for complete and defensible representation and prediction of long-term behavior and response to natural and anthropogenic events.

The Geoscience Group leads multi-institutional collaborative efforts to develop site conceptual models of contaminant fate and transport to support remediation of some of the nation’s most challenging environmental insults. Geoscience staff also lead efforts to develop conceptual model tools and comprehensive science-based data sets for thorough and defensible numerical representation of the subsurface, and to support improved waste disposal and remediation technologies.

Geoscience staff are heavily engaged in subsurface characterization, monitoring, and representation of deep storage reservoirs (such as those planned for carbon sequestration and high level radioactive waste). Ongoing carbon sequestration projects include a deep basalt pilot project (Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership), a deep saline sandstone project (FutureGen 2.0), and various laboratory experiments, monitoring, and model efforts (National Risk Assessment Partnership).

Geoscience staff are also engaged in characterization and science-based support for development of energy and economic resources. Staff support environmental assessments of nuclear facilities, develop science-based approaches to improve geothermal and fossil fuel development, and support new energy resource evaluations (compressed air, thermal storage, methane hydrates).

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas