A View to the Future - Berkeley Lab 2005/2006 Report nameplate

Energy Technologies and Environmental Studies

Securing a Cleaner Tomorrow

Energy Technologies and Environmental Studies icon

The world is at a crossroads. Each year, energy consumption increases and more greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere. By 2020, one-third of the world’s population may lack access to clean water, air, and affordable energy. That same year, it’s estimated that U.S. energy demands will have risen 40 percent from today’s levels, an increase that far outpaces the nation’s energy production capabilities.

If steps aren’t soon taken, tomorrow’s generation will inherit a world that looks vastly different than today’s. That’s why Berkeley Lab scientists are spearheading several initiatives designed to mitigate the environmental impacts of the nation’s fossil-fuel-dependent economy and more efficiently utilize today’s energy sources.

Working in conjunction with partners in industry and academia, they are tackling some of the most pressing problems of the 21st century. They’re learning how to trap carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, deep underground and possibly in the oceans. They’re using state-of-the-art imaging technologies to learn how airborne pollutants influence the planet’s climate, and they’re using one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to predict climate change.

Right: A NASA image of Earth as seen by satellite

They’re determining how to best extract the vast quantities of natural gas hidden under the world’s oceans and permafrost, which could yield far more energy than the earth’s remaining reserves of fossil fuel. They’re learning how to clean up contaminated sites and facilitate the safe disposal of nuclear waste. And they’re developing new ways to more efficiently utilize today’s energy sources through the development of energy-saving windows, advanced lighting technology, and software that streamlines a building’s energy use.

Their work will help buy the world precious time until carbon-neutral sources of energy become a reality — a goal that Berkeley Lab scientists will pursue in the coming years.

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Image of the Earth - 2010 Goal for Energy Technologies: Demonstrate Safe and Effective Carbon Sequestration Systems