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The objective of the Berkeley Lab Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) is to use new investigative tools, combined with experiments and computational methods, to build a next-generation understanding of molecular-to-pore-scale processes in fluid-rock systems, and to demonstrate the ability to control critical aspects of flow and transport in porous rock media, in particular as applied to geologic sequestration of CO2. The objectives address fundamental science challenges related to far from equilibrium systems, nanoscale processes at interfaces, and emergent phenomena.
The specific overarching goals are to (1) establish, within 10 years, novel molecular, nanoscale, and pore-network-scale approaches for controlling flow, dissolution, and precipitation in deep subsurface rock formations—to achieve the efficient filling of pore space with injected supercritical CO2, with maximum solubility and mineral trapping, and near-zero leakage, and (2) develop a predictive capability for reactive transport of CO2-rich fluid that is applicable for 100–1000 years into the future.
The products of the EFRC will provide the fundamental knowledge necessary to develop a revolutionary level of control and predictive capability for subsurface fluids. It will facilitate the safe storage of CO2 in subsurface reservoirs to address the threats of global warming, and produce important advances related to fluid manipulation for other types of energy resource development and management.