The Physical and Life Sciences Directorate contributes to the Laboratory's Energy mission through the expertise of its researchers and the unique resources. Researchers from all five Divisions of the PLS Directorate provide the fundamental knowledge to understand energy needs and necessary subject matter expertise to successfully deliver solutions to meet this mission.
- PLS scientists research new technologies to aid U.S. efforts to find, develop, and produce geothermal energy. Geothermal power is a clean and renewable energy source that provides reliable baseload power. Mission-driven projects span a variety of technologies, from high-performance computing to micro-manufacturing to field experiments.
- PLS scientists are developing novel CO2 capture technologies and addressing key research needs for long-term geologic CO2 storage. Projects include: (i) assessment of leakage on groundwater quality, (ii) well bore and cap rock integrity, (iii) chemical evolution of permeability, and (iv) development of pressure management and microseismic toolkits for reservoir characterization and seismic mitigation.
- PLS scientists are advancing research in hydrogen and technologies for carbonless transportation. Project include: (i) improving kinetics of hydrogen storage in Mg(BH4)2 by simultaneous modeling of chemical, transport and phase behavior, (ii) accelerating material development by integrating theory and characterization and synthesis effort for efficient photoelectrochemical hydrogen production, (iii) developing solid-state electrochemical sensors with good sensitivity to hydrogen, quick response time, relative immunity to interference, and ease of manufacturing, and (iv) development of cryogenic pressurized vessels for hydrogen storage.
- PLS scientists are part of the National Ignition Facility (NIF ) team to provide a path to clean, safe, carbon-free energy in the future through inertial fusion energy.
- PLS scientists work to attain a deep understanding of fusion energy – the challenge of bringing the energy-producing power of a star to earth – in order to harness and optimize this process for the benefit of humankind.