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Argonne National Lab

About Argonne National Laboratory

At Argonne National Laboratory, world-class scientists and engineers work alongside experts from industry and academia to address vital national challenges in clean energy, the environment, health, and national security. Energy efficiency programs include the development of higher-performance batteries, fuel cells, advanced vehicle engines, alternative fuels, smart electrical grids, and more efficient manufacturing and industrial technologies. Argonne has 3,350 total employees, a yearly budget of $722 million, and hosts more than 6,500 researchers every year at its six national User Facilities.

Capabilities

Energy and environmental analyses are critical to the development and deployment of a robust set of geothermal technologies. Argonne has a long history assessing life-cycle impacts (e.g., energy, GHG emissions, water) and other environmental impacts of a wide array of energy development activities, including programmatic-level environmental impact statements. These assessments have helped to evaluate the contribution of domestic geothermal resources to the nation's environmental maintenance objectives.

Argonne has developed several models to assess impacts across the lifecycle for various geothermal technologies, including enhanced geothermal systems, hydrothermal flash, hydrothermal binary, and geopressured systems. Through the GREET model, life cycle impacts of utility-scale geothermal technologies can be compared to various electric power generation technologies.

Argonne has also examined the interactions of energy demand and water demand — including the role of water acquisition, treatment, and delivery costs — on the levelized cost of energy for geothermal systems. Argonne's work in enhanced geothermal systems identified the significant role of belowground operational losses and how the availability of makeup water for these reservoirs can impact their long-term sustainability. These impacts have also been examined at scale under various geothermal development scenarios.

Facilities

The Argonne Leadership Computing Facility has the computational resources to develop big data models.

Argonne also has the Center for Geospatial Analysis (CGA), a collaboration among environmental science and engineering disciplines that fosters the sharing of resources and ideas related to spatial modeling and statistics, geographic information systems, cartography, remote sensing, spatial database development and management, visualization, and computation. Bringing together researchers under a common theme of geospatial analysis, the CGA promotes the development and application of new methods and techniques to further our understanding of how the environment might respond to natural and human-caused perturbations. Understanding the dynamics of environmental systems, both natural and managed, often requires explicit knowledge of the spatial arrangement and geographic location of system parameters and variables. Modern analytical and numerical models, along with field measurement methods and technology, now incorporate geospatial information to assure that spatial phenomena and dynamics of environmental systems are fully addressed. Indeed, geospatial analyses have become embedded in all disciplines studying Earth systems, ecological dynamics, environmental change, and natural and managed land resources.