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