Clean Energy & Climate
Securing a sustainable future
Brookhaven aims to lead the Nation towards a net-zero carbon economy by leveraging the Lab’s world-leading materials science and chemistry research facilities to develop clean energy solutions. The Lab’s complementary climate research investigates the atmosphere at unprecedented scales, gathering data that will improve climate models and advance scientists’ understanding of complex environmental systems.
Catalysts are substances that initiate or speed up chemical reactions. Brookhaven scientists are developing and studying new catalysts that drive energy conversion reactions, such as the conversion of carbon dioxide to sustainable fuels, to close the carbon cycle.
Seeking to mimic the process of natural photosynthesis, Brookhaven scientists are designing artificial chemical systems that efficiently harness sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into energy-rich fuels.
By studying how plants capture, convert, and store carbon as biomass, Brookhaven scientists aim to optimize this natural process for harnessing biofuels, a promising alternative to fossil fuels. Researchers at Brookhaven are also working to fill the knowledge gap that exists between plant genes and their functions, leveraging plants’ desirable characteristics to address energy challenges.
Before renewable energy sources like wind and solar power can be integrated into the electric grid, scientists must develop advanced batteries that can store these intermittent sources of power. Brookhaven scientists are researching the electrochemical reactions in novel energy storage materials to better understand, predict, and control their mechanisms for grid integration. Energy storage research at Brookhaven also focuses on battery advancements for long-range electric vehicles and modern electronics.
Environmental scientists at Brookhaven are investigating how aerosols—tiny particles suspended in Earth’s atmosphere—take form and influence clouds, precipitation, and the climate. Researchers are also developing advanced climate research techniques, including four-dimensional atmospheric sensing and simulation capabilities, for improving climate models and predicting global change.
Foundational research helps us understand climate change
In a multidisciplinary effort, scientists across the 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.