Earth Systems Science & Engineering

Earth Systems Science and Engineering

Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim, Washington. 

Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Our Earth systems science and engineering capability explores the impacts of energy production, storage, and use on the environment and develops technologies to mitigate energy’s environmental impacts. PNNL also develops and deploys technologies to improve the performance of energy generation and mineral extraction from surface waters. Our research spans terrestrial, aquatic, and coastal ocean systems and we apply our expertise broadly to Arctic and deep-ocean oil and gas, hydropower, marine and hydrokinetic generation, wind power, algal biomass production, nuclear energy, and legacy waste.

Our scientists and engineers work in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems science, oceanography, biogeochemistry, hydrology, environmental engineering, and microbiology, and have broad domain expertise within these fields.

We are stewards of the only marine research facility in the Department of Energy complex, the Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim, Washington. This laboratory’s coastal location and facilities enable studies of anthropogenic impacts on marine species and systems and a controlled study area for development and testing of marine energy systems. In addition, our distinctive Aquatics Research Laboratory supports fisheries research focused on sustainable hydropower operations and development.

Advanced environmental monitors and ecological sensors for conventional hydropower, wind, and marine energy systems are developed and tested at the Bio-Acoustics and Flow Laboratory. The advanced experimental and instrument capabilities of the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory are also used to advance research in this area, with a focus on molecular-scale biogeochemistry and proteomics.

The Earth systems science and engineering capability is managed for programs in the Department of Energy’s Offices of Biological and Environmental Research, Basic Energy Sciences, Environmental Management, Nuclear Energy, and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Sponsors also include the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, Bonneville Power Administration, the Department of Interior, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Research topics