Enhancing the performance and predictability of subsurface storage systems by understanding the molecular and nanoscale origins of CO2 trapping processes, and developing computational tools to translate to larger-scale systems.
Researchers in the Discovery Geoscience Program Domain work at the cutting edge of observation, measurement and simulation of fluid-rock processes through the use and development of methods that span the molecular and field scales.
Understanding the impact of fluids injected into the subsurface is essential for a host of activities that have material benefits for society. The long-term mission of the BES Geophysics Program is to improve our ability to monitor and image in space and time where injected fluids migrate and what alterations they make to the Earth’s subsurface.
The Earth’s subsurface is a vast realm that is immensely valuable not only for the production of energy and mineral resources, but also for the sustenance of surface ecosystems and for newer applications such as the storage of waste materials. Any activity that accesses the subsurface causes geomechanical, geochemical, and hydrological changes. These changes can drastically limit the effectiveness or longevity of a subsurface technology or resource, and cause unwanted impacts on other surface or subsurface systems. Two major challenges in subsurface science that are relevant to numerous aspects of the U.S. energy system are:
- The effective and judicious use of subsurface systems requires better understanding of the complex processes involved in accessing and manipulating rocks and fluids under conditions of elevated temperature and pressure.
- The safe and sustainable use of subsurface systems requires a significantly improved understanding of the basic links between subsurface systems, the biosphere and other geological resources—such as groundwater—upon which humankind relies. Our fundamental research is providing new science-based understanding of the functioning of pristine and perturbed subsurface systems.
The Discovery Geosciences Program Domain is part of EESA’s Energy Geosciences Division.