You are here

Subsurface Technology and Engineering RD&D Crosscut

Subsurface Technology and Engineering RD&D Crosscut

The Subsurface Technology and Engineering Research, Development, and Demonstration (SubTER) Crosscut encompasses DOE offices involved in subsurface activities that are aligned with energy production/extraction, subsurface storage of energy and CO2, and subsurface waste disposal and environmental remediation.

Energy sources originating from beneath the Earth’s surface satisfy over 80% of total U.S. energy needs. Finding and effectively exploiting these resources while mitigating impacts of their use constitute major technical and socio-political challenges and opportunities.

Next generation advances in subsurface technologies will enable increases in domestic natural gas supplies, as well as more than 100 gigawatts equivalent (GWe) of clean, renewable geothermal energy.


The subsurface provides hundreds of years of safe storage capacity for carbon dioxide (CO2), and opportunities for environmentally responsible management and disposal of hazardous materials and other energy waste streams. The subsurface can also serve as a reservoir for energy storage for power produced from intermittent generation sources.

These opportunities have immediate connection to societal needs and administration priorities. Clean energy deployment and CO2 storage are critical components of the President’s Climate Action Plan, necessary to meet the 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target. Increasing domestic energy supply from greater hydrocarbon resource recovery, in a sustainable and environmentally sound manner, are also Administration goals that enhance national security and fuel economic growth.

Office of Basic Energy Science Roundtable Report

The SubTER team developed an extensive R&D plan for advancing technologies within these four core pillars and also identified several areas where new technologies would require additional basic research. In response, the Office of Science, through its Office of Basic Energy Science (BES), convened a roundtable consisting of 15 national lab, university and industry geoscience experts to brainstorm basic research areas that underpin the SubTER goals but are currently underrepresented in the BES research portfolio. View the BES Report here.

Grand Challenge Roundtable

The DOE held a Grand Challenge Roundtable to discuss imaging geophysical and geochemical signals in the subsurface. Resulting from the BES Roundtable report and recommendations, this event convened national lab, university, and industry experts to brainstorm research areas that underpin the Pillars of SubTER. The outcome of these meetings resulted in the identification of prioritized research questions that will help inform future research directions. View the Grand Challenge Roundtable Report here.

View the SubTER fact sheet here.

Read a White Paper on the scope of SubTER.

View the 2015 AGU SubTER Town Hall Presentation here.

Check out Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's SubTER website here.