Research within Program Domains is organized by Programs. Programs include a portfolio of projects that have a common scientific theme; projects can range from single PI to large, multi-disciplinary, team-based efforts. Programs are typically closely aligned with sponsor offices, and Program Leads serve as the main Berkeley Lab point of contact for those offices. Scroll down to read about our fourteen Programs.
Carbon Removal & Mineralization Program
LBNL’s Carbon Removal and Mineralization Program is focused towards performing fundamental and applied earth science research relevant to capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the atmosphere and durably storing it in geologic, bio-based and ocean reservoirs or in value-added products to create negative emissions.
Earth AI & Data
Earth AI & Data researchers use data-driven methods to accelerate scientific understanding of complex Earth and environmental systems, and enable decision-relevant predictions across the breadth of geosciences.
Lithium Resource Research and Innovation Center (LiRRIC)
Berkeley Lab has established the Lithium Resource Research and Innovation Center (LiRRIC) to power lithium innovation. Through the new center, the national laboratory’s resource experts in environmental science are guiding research and development into lithium extraction technologies so that science breakthroughs lead to the greatest economic and environmental benefits.
Atmospheric System Research
The Earth and Environmental Sciences Area’s, Atmospheric System Research Program advances fundamental understanding of atmospheric radiation, clouds, and precipitation, and their interactions with Earth’s surface and climate.
Basic Energy Sciences (BES) Geochemistry
Studying the fundamental chemical controls on the structure, properties and evolution of rock-fluid systems in terrestrial and subsurface Earth settings.
Basic Energy Sciences (BES) Geophysics
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.
Basic Energy Sciences (BES) Isotope
Developing and applying knowledge of stable isotope fractionation processes to provide insights into the controls on mineral precipitation and material transport in fluid phases.
Research projects in EESA’s Bioenergy Program apply synthetic biology, bioengineering, and microbiology to foster renewable fuel production. Key themes of the Bioenergy Program include: (1) developing novel biofuel pathways in bacteria, (2) exploiting microbial metabolic diversity for biofuel production and lignocellulose deconstruction, and (3) mitigating petroleum souring.
Nanoscale Control of Geologic CO2 (NCGC)
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.
This program aims to develop global process-resolving models to help quantify the roles of climate feedbacks in anthropogenic climate change. Abrupt and extreme climate changes from anthropogenic warming pose some of the greatest risks to society and the environment. Understanding of the complex interactions involved with feedbacks is critical.
Ecosystems Biology Program
The Ecosystems Biology Program focuses on discovering and understanding the molecular basis of plant, microbial and metazoan interactions, including specific gene functions, species interactions, and community dynamics under a variety of environmental conditions—and developing the advanced technology that enables such understanding.
Environmental Remediation and Water Resources
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.
Carbon Storage Program
The Carbon Storage Program uses theory along with lab, field, and simulation approaches to investigate processes needed to inform and guide the safe and effective implementation of geologic carbon sequestration.
The Geothermal Systems Program is focused on two research thrusts: (1) Developing innovative technologies for identifying and characterizing conventional and hidden natural hydrothermal systems; and (2) Characterizing, developing, and sustaining enhanced geothermal systems through the use of coupled process models, microearthquake (MEQ) monitoring, and laboratory studies.
The Hydrocarbon Science Program focuses on developing the understanding of the basic concepts and methodologies governing the coupled processes and associated phenomena involved in resource development and production. EESA scientists work to develop improved understanding of the basic concepts and processes governing multiphase non-isothermal flow in subsurface porous/fractured media during hydrocarbon production under challenging conditions.
Nuclear Energy and Waste
The mission of LBNL’s Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Waste Program is to perform fundamental and applied earth-sciences-related research concerning the safe, secure, and responsible use of nuclear energy, mostly focused on the safe long-term geological disposal of used nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste.
Terrestrial Ecosystem Science
This program’s focus is to understand and explain mechanisms and processes controlling primary production, carbon cycling, and soil biogeochemistry; the impacts of disturbance on terrestrial ecosystems; and ecosystem feedbacks to climate in vulnerable environments. In addition, it seeks to establish and maintain environmental field observatories.