Controlled CO2 release injection experiment to test groundwater quality changes related to top leakage risk.

Develop and apply science-based methodologies for analyzing and calculating hazards and risks across different subsurface energy applications while ensuring that related uncertainties are adequately quantified, and applying science based solutions to the mitigation of hazardous events when they do occur.

Overview

Environmental Resilience is an Energy Geosciences Division initiative within the Resilient Energy, Water and Infrastructure Program Domain.

The vision of this program is to catalyze the development and application of science-based methodologies to prepare for, respond to, and recover from environmental disasters that are broadly related to using the Earth’s subsurface for energy production and storage and for the disposal of energy-related waste. State-of-the-art uncertainty quantification and risk analysis allow us to quantify the consequence and probability of such disasters in complex and realistic models for identifying vulnerability and suggesting improvements. Integrated monitoring technologies – including a suite of new sensors and data analytics – enable rapid and accurate assessments of the disaster consequences, and planning of the recovery. Sustainable remediation methodologies support the optimal design of complex recovery processes by considering net environmental impacts. The Environmental Resiliency program resides in the Energy Geosciences Division within the Resilient Energy, Water and Infrastructure Program Domain. There are three key cross-cutting capabilities contributing to a portfolio of projects.

Uncertainty Quantification and Risk Analysis

To prepare for environmental disasters, we need to identify hazards and quantify their risks, which in turn helps us to develop suitable mitigation strategies. There is a significant uncertainty associated with the frequency and consequences of particular types of events. EESA has been developing methodologies and software to advance uncertainty quantification (UQ) capabilities using high-performance computing platforms such as iTOUGH2 and ASCEM.

Recent projects wherein we have applied our expertise include: 

National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP)

Laboratory Directed Research and Development Project on Fukushima Restoration

Advanced Simulation Capability for Environmental Management 

Integrated Environmental Monitoring

To respond appropriately, effectively and efficiently to environmental disasters, we first need to accurately measure their extent and consequence. This is critical for the evacuation of residents and other response decisions. In addition, environmental monitoring is critical to assess recovery processes and to provide assurance for residents. In parallel, environmental monitoring is important for early detection and mitigation of contaminant leaks at the facilities that have hazardous materials such as mining or waste sites, energy/CO2 storage or factories). EESA has been pioneering various environmental monitoring technologies to quickly respond to disasters, and to ensure the safety of potentially hazardous facilities. In particular, our emphasis is on developing an integrated approach for effectively combining various state-of-the-art monitoring technologies for different problems and environments, including remote sensing and geophysics.

We have applied our expertise to the following projects and publications:

Potential Impacts of CO2 Leakage on Groundwater Quality

White_Paper_F-Area_v4 SBIR Phase II: Predictive Assimilation Framework for Subsurface Process Prediction

Modeling, Monitoring and Data Integration Support for Environmental Restoration of the Fukushima Area

White paper: Field and Virtual Testbeds for Cost-effective Sustainable Remediation, Enhanced Attenuation and Long-Term Monitoring

Recovery from environmental disasters can take years or even decades. The recovery processes are often extremely complex with significant cost, energy/water consumption, and waste production. Clean-up of soil and groundwater contamination, for example, has many side-effects such as ecological impacts and waste production. Creating alternative closure- and end-use scenarios are also pressing issues at the contaminated sites. EESA at Berkeley Lab has been developing methodologies to reduce net environmental impacts and to support optimal decisions in complex systems with many trade-offs.

This is evident in examples of our work:

Advanced Simulation Capability for Environmental Management 

Climate Resiliency at Contaminated Sites

 

Featured Projects

Project

Modeling, Monitoring and Data Integration Support for Environmental Restoration of the Fukushima Area

The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) after the Great East Japan Earthquake resulted in the release of radioactive contaminants to the atmosphere and environment in March 2011. In October 2015, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) have initiated a collaborative research project under an agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) and JAEA. The primary objective of this project is to support and enhance JAEA’s research activities on the environmental restoration of the Fukushima area.