The Berkeley Lab Geochemistry Department’s scientists offer world-class expertise and wide-ranging research interests/activities in challenges facing the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States, and the world today. Activities address key societal needs, from contaminant fate and transport, alternative energy, carbon mitigation, to deep understanding of fundamental geochemical processes taking place in the Earth’s Critical Zone. Particular strengths of the department are reactive transport modeling, isotope geochemistry, molecular and nanogeochemistry, biogeochemical cycling, and water quality-energy issues.
Our six core capabilities are:
- Reactive Transport
- Isotope Geochemistry
- Water Quality
- Biogeochemical Cycling
- Molecular and Nanogeochemistry
- High Temperature Geochemistry
Our Biogeochemical Cycling scientists interrogate and quantify biogeochemical cycles of carbon, metal, and other nutrients. These studies focus primarily on the Earth's Critical Zone and range in scale from nano- to watershed, making use of Department of Energy Facilities such as the Advanced Light Source at Berkeley Lab.
We conduct bench-scale experiments using hydrothermal reactors with high temperatures up to 400°C and pressures up to 200MPa. We work closely with reactive transport modelers to analyze field-scale geothermal and hydrothermal system behavior.
Isotope geochemists use isotopic ratio methods to study fundamental earth processes, and environmental and energy problems of national interest. Several EESA research programs are served by gas source, radiogenic and non-traditional isotope mass spectrometry offered by the Center for Isotope Geochemistry (CIG).
This research field studies the fundamental, molecular-scale phenomena that underpin biogeochemical processes in the natural world and includes a significant effort addressing the properties and environmental roles of natural nanoparticles.
Reactive Transport group specializes in model development and simulation of coupled microbe-mineral-water-gas reactive transport in porous media.
The Water Quality technical group focuses on deep understanding of the interface between water and the subsurface, the surface, and the atmosphere—and applies the results to solving complex water quality problems.