A Systems-Biology Approach to Energy Flow in H2-Producing Microbial Communities (ESD–LLNL Collaboration)

This research aims to develop an integrated analysis of energy flow in complex microbial communities. We are combining biogeochemical, stable isotope probing, metatranscriptomic and computational approaches, to understand nutrient cycling and biofuel (H2) production production in complex microbial communities. A comprehensive understanding of such communities is needed to develop efficient, industrial-scale processes for microbial H2 production and lignocellulose degradation.

Funded by DOE-SC-Biological and Environmental Research

Abrupt Climate Change

DOE’s Climate Modeling Program has initiated an area of research in Abrupt Climate Change Modeling aimed at articulating the thresholds, nonlinearities and fast feedbacks in the climate system with a focus on abrupt climate change, incorporating causal mechanisms into coupled climate models and testing the enhanced models against observational records of past abrupt climate change.

Advanced Simulation Capability for Environmental Management (ASCEM)

Advanced Simulation Capability for Environmental Management (ASCEM) is a software project that aims at developing next-generation, science-based reactive flow and transport simulation capabilities (and supporting modeling toolsets) within a high-performance computing framework, to address the U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Management’s waste storage and environmental cleanup challenges.

AmeriFlux Management Project

The largest flows of carbon between land and atmosphere come from terrestrial ecosystem photosynthesis and respiration, with potentially profound impacts on atmosphere and climate. The AmeriFlux Network, established in 1996, has more than 120 long-term flux sites, independently operated and funded, throughout the Western Hemisphere. The sites are diverse, ranging from the Amazonian rainforests to the North Slope of Alaska, and some span gradients in elevation or rainfall. Site researchers observe ecosystem level exchanges of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, water, and energy, to assess terrestrial ecosystems’ responses and feedbacks to the environment.

Funded by DOE-SC-Biological and Environmental Research

ARPA-E Microbial Electrocatalysis (Electrofuels)

As part of the DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) program for research on microorganisms that can produce liquid fuels without using petroleum or biomass, a Berkeley Lab-ESD team engineered strains of a common soil bacterium, Ralstonia eutropha, to produce drop-in replacements for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel using only hydrogen and carbon dioxide as inputs.

Funded by DOE-ARPA-E

ARPA-E—Methylase Project

ESD’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) effort, the Methylase Project, aims to develop biological systems for direct conversion of CO2 or CH4 to liquid transportation fuels. The overarching goal of this project is to use enzyme engineering to design a novel enzyme—a methylase—that can be installed in bacteria for bioconversion of CH4 to liquid transportation fuels.

Funded by DOE-ARPA-E

Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Carbon Project (ARM Carbon)

In ARM's Carbon Project, we aim to improve our ability to predict exchanges of carbon, water, and energy at the landscape scale. As we develop these models, we can better understand how the fluxes of carbon, water and energy link to land use and climate. The mixture of land uses and simple topography in the Southern Great Plains make this an ideal region to test methods of scaling flux predictions from plot to regional scales. There, we are measuring stocks and fluxes of carbon, water, and energy at various spatial and temporal scales.


Research projects in ESD’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.

Funded by: Earth Sciences Division, DOE-SC-Biological and Environmental Research

Biofuels Pathways (JBEI)

Researchers in the Biofuels Pathways Group discover naturally occurring enzymes that, when integrated with metabolic pathways for biofuel precursors (such as fatty acids), enable engineered microbes to synthesize advanced biofuels. A genome-enabled approach is used to study both pure bacterial cultures and natural microbial communities known to produce the biofuels of interest.

Funded by DOE-SC-Biological and Environmental Research

Diffusion through Porous/Fractured Media

Diffusion Through Porous/Fractured Media This page provides information on research conducted in the Earth Sciences Division of LBNL on diffusion through porous and fractured media. Currently, it includes the following: (1) A PDF file of the report “A set of semianalytical solutions for parameter estimation in diffusion cell experiments” (by G. Moridis, Report No. LBNL-41857).…