Environmental & Biological Systems Science

Environmental Remediation and Water Resources

History of uranium milling at a site of deep interest to LBNL (DOE’s Rifle, CO field station).
Photo courtesy of Mr Alan Yoder.

The key driver for this program is to improve the scientific foundation of hydrological, biological, and geochemical processes and their interactions relevant to environmental remediation, water resources, and enhanced energy production.

Highlights

Project

Sustainable Systems SFA 2.0

The overarching mission of BER’s Climate and Environmental Sciences Division (DOE, 2012) is to advance a robust predictive understanding of Earth’s climate and environmental systems and to inform the development of sustainable solutions to the Nation’s energy and environmental challenges. We seek to develop that "robust predictive understanding" of complex interactions in natural systems, from the genome to the watershed scale, in order to achieve a new class of solutions for environmental and energy challenges.

Project

Advanced Simulation Capability for Environmental Management (ASCEM)

Advanced Simulation Capability for Environmental Management (ASCEM) is a software project that aims at developing next-generation, science-based reactive flow and transport simulation capabilities (and supporting modeling toolsets) within a high-performance computing framework, to address the U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Management’s waste storage and environmental cleanup challenges.

Project

Fukushima: JAEA-LBNL Collaboration on Repository Geoscience and Technology Development

In the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in Japan in 2011, LBNL-EESA and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) have collaborated to develop numerical methodologies for understanding and predicting the long-term transport of radionuclides within and among different surface-environmental compartments (farmland and forest soils, water bodies, soil pore water and groundwater systems) in Japan. This research, initiated in June 2014, also contributes to the R&D activities related to environmental remediation and decommissioning after the accident.

IDEAS cover photo
Project

IDEAS: Computational Challenges in Building Virtual Terrestrial Ecosystems

EESA’s Genomes-to-Watershed and NGEE-Arctic projects seek to take advantage of new scientific software capabilities by incorporating a recently initiated DOE-Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR)–BER-funded project, entitled Interoperable Design of Extreme-Scale Application Software (IDEAS). This project pursues the development and demonstration of new approaches for producing, using, and supporting scientific software. It will establish methodologies and tools that facilitate delivery of software as reusable, interoperable components.

Project

Predictive Agriculture Initiative

Berkeley Lab’s Predictive Agricultural Initiative, as part of the UC Global Food Initiative launched in late 2014, focuses on mining existing data to understand the impacts of changing climate on California agriculture. For this project, in collaboration with UC Davis, Lab scientists work to develop new scientific approaches to increase food production, while simultaneously decreasing inputs of water and fertilizers.

Project

SBIR Phase II: Predictive Assimilation Framework for Subsurface Process Prediction

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project concentrates on the creation of a predictive assimilation framework (PAF) for contaminated sites. This PAF would autonomously assimilate different site-related data streams into numerical models, and provide information on current (and future) site and system behavior to site stakeholders. The technical and scientific capabilities of the PAF are developed and tested by incorporating (into adequate numerical models) a variety of hydrological, geophysical and biogeochemical datasets from a highly instrumented site (the DOE Rifle Subsurface Biogeochemistry Field Observatory in Rifle, Colorado).

Program Overview

Using theoretical, numerical, and experimental approaches, the Environmental Remediation and Water Resources Program (ERWR) is unique in that it spans molecular-to-field scales in the development of system behavior insights, as well as novel tools and approaches. Projects within the Program contribute to the predictive understanding of coupled hydro-biogeochemical processes and their role in water resources, environmental contaminants, and related terrestrial environment biogeochemical cycling—from the scale of the pore to that of the regional catchment. This research relies heavily on linking controlled laboratory experiments with field observations at sites of relevance to DOE, particularly those expected to be at elevated risk due to the impacts of global climate change or persistent contamination.

The EESA Sustainable Systems Science Focus Area 2.0 is emblematic of this research focus. It seeks to develop the process understanding and genome-enabled capabilities required to simulate microbe-catalyzed biogeochemical processes, particularly those relevant for terrestrial environmental feedbacks to climate, contaminant mobility, and agricultural sustainability. Tied with this project, Berkeley Lab leads perhaps the most used subsurface community biogeochemical field observatory in the world: the Rifle, Colorado, site.

The collection of projects in this program is overwhelmingly multidisciplinary and multi-institutional, involving close collaboration with other national laboratories, universities, and industry partners. Financial support is provided by a variety of sponsors, including DOE-BER and DOE Environmental Management and Legacy Management, DOD SERDP, the Bureau of Land Management, various California Water Agencies, and DOE’s Small Business Innovative Research program.

Featured Projects

Project

Advanced Simulation Capability for Environmental Management (ASCEM)

Advanced Simulation Capability for Environmental Management (ASCEM) is a software project that aims at developing next-generation, science-based reactive flow and transport simulation capabilities (and supporting modeling toolsets) within a high-performance computing framework, to address the U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Management’s waste storage and environmental cleanup challenges.

IDEAS cover photo
Project

IDEAS: Computational Challenges in Building Virtual Terrestrial Ecosystems

EESA’s Genomes-to-Watershed and NGEE-Arctic projects seek to take advantage of new scientific software capabilities by incorporating a recently initiated DOE-Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR)–BER-funded project, entitled Interoperable Design of Extreme-Scale Application Software (IDEAS). This project pursues the development and demonstration of new approaches for producing, using, and supporting scientific software. It will establish methodologies and tools that facilitate delivery of software as reusable, interoperable components.

Project

Predictive Agriculture Initiative

Berkeley Lab’s Predictive Agricultural Initiative, as part of the UC Global Food Initiative launched in late 2014, focuses on mining existing data to understand the impacts of changing climate on California agriculture. For this project, in collaboration with UC Davis, Lab scientists work to develop new scientific approaches to increase food production, while simultaneously decreasing inputs of water and fertilizers.

Project

SBIR Phase II: Predictive Assimilation Framework for Subsurface Process Prediction

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project concentrates on the creation of a predictive assimilation framework (PAF) for contaminated sites. This PAF would autonomously assimilate different site-related data streams into numerical models, and provide information on current (and future) site and system behavior to site stakeholders. The technical and scientific capabilities of the PAF are developed and tested by incorporating (into adequate numerical models) a variety of hydrological, geophysical and biogeochemical datasets from a highly instrumented site (the DOE Rifle Subsurface Biogeochemistry Field Observatory in Rifle, Colorado).

Project

Sustainable Systems SFA 2.0

The overarching mission of BER’s Climate and Environmental Sciences Division (DOE, 2012) is to advance a robust predictive understanding of Earth’s climate and environmental systems and to inform the development of sustainable solutions to the Nation’s energy and environmental challenges. We seek to develop that "robust predictive understanding" of complex interactions in natural systems, from the genome to the watershed scale, in order to achieve a new class of solutions for environmental and energy challenges.

Primary Sponsors