Foundational research helps us understand climate change
and develop technologies for a clean-energy future
Foundational research is at the heart of Brookhaven National Laboratory’s climate and energy story. Scientists across this multidisciplinary U.S. Department of Energy laboratory are asking questions, designing and running experiments, and collecting the data needed to understand Earth’s changing climate, inform science-based decision making, and provide the foundation for innovative clean-energy technologies.
Environmental scientists at Brookhaven Lab are investigating factors that affect Earth’s climate by probing the fundamental building blocks of the climate system. These include aerosols and the plant physiological processes that sustain ecosystems from the Arctic to the tropics. Our data will improve the models used to predict long-term global climate change and the daily atmospheric conditions that impact renewable energy efficiency and demand.
Brookhaven scientists are exploring a range of clean-energy strategies to move us toward a net-zero carbon future. Examples include rewiring plants’ biochemical pathways to produce biobased fuels; developing catalysts that mimic plants’ ability to capture sunlight and transform carbon dioxide and water into fuel; and catalysts that transform carbon dioxide, waste methane, and other raw materials into useful products.
Scientists at Brookhaven are exploring a range of ways to improve the efficiency of technologies for harnessing renewable energy. These include developing new types of solar cells and characterizing and enhancing their performance, better characterizing the solar energy available for power production, and developing new superconductor-based technologies for harnessing wind power.
Developing new types of energy storage could pave the way for integrating wind and solar power into the nation’s energy grid and transform transportation to make use of electricity generated by these renewable sources. Brookhaven is advancing this vision with studies of existing batteries, by developing new materials for future batteries, and by studying the integration of renewable sources into real-world, grid-scale energy distribution systems.
From improving the efficiency of home heating systems to studying the dispersal of pollutants in urban areas, Brookhaven scientists are conducting research that has the potential to save money, keep carbon out of the atmosphere, and improve human health.