Some of the ongoing research applications:
The “Lithospheric Organic Carbon” (L.O.C.) Lab provides accurate measurements and microscopic, petrographic characterizations of the total organic carbon (TOC) and inorganic carbon as well as the parameters related to various fractions associated with algal productivity, terrestrial organic carbon input, and char/black carbon in lake and marine sediments archives, peat bogs, soil, and permafrost. This serves as an important mean of understanding the carbon budget in recent and past depositional systems and reconstructing the depositional history and past environment, paleoproductivity (climate change), biodegradation, and redox condition. It also provides information on the transport of organic carbon via ocean currents, its origin, degradation and impact on the food chain. Finally, it helps identify areas and strength of carbon sink.
Fast and accurate measurements of the total organic carbon (TOC), free hydrocarbon, hydrocarbon potential, thermal maturity, and diagenetic parameters using the proposed pyrolysis system provide powerful screening of the source rocks in the conventional petroleum systems and source-reservoir rocks in the unconventional petroleum systems. This data leads to more accurate exploration and assessment scheme, which will increase efficiency of energy resource exploitation and minimizes environmental risks associated with poor exploration targets. The L.O.C. lab also provides powerful research data for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), which is currently envisioned for reduction of GHGs by injecting industrial CO2, methane, and Ethane emission into depleted oil reservoirs to dissolve and extract immobile hydrocarbon fluids. Our new Enhances Slow Heating (ESH) pyrolysis method can provide quick screening of degree of immobile hydrocarbon that can potentially be dissolved in CO2 , methane, and Ethane as a powerful screening tool.
Organic carbon provides strong chemical binding or serve as adsorption substrate for numerous inorganic and organic toxic pollutants (e.g., mercury, arsenic, persistent organic polloutants (POPs)). The L.O.C. lab works closely with the Aarhus University’s AGIR, the existing state of the art inorganic geochemistry facility at IG-AU. Accurate measurement and speciation of organic matter in the samples, in conjunction with ultra trace analysis of inorganic fractions, provides a powerful combination to investigate the interrelationship between organic fraction and inorganic matter in the geosphere and how organic matter production in depositional system controls the distribution of inorganic pollutants within the atmosphere, biosphere, and geosphere.
Global soils represent the largest reservoirs of terrestrial organic carbon (3300 Pg) in the biosphere. However, the biogeochemical mechanisms for the long-term C stabilization in soils are not yet well understood. Studies of pyrogenic C in soil (biochar) have recently received great attention as it is highly recalcitrant. Biochar amendment to tropical soils is proposed as an agricultural method that may help tackle the trilemma of soil degradation, food-security and climate change challenges in resource-poor, highly food-insecure regions of the world. However, analytical opportunities for quantifying total and recalcitrant C in soil samples have limited by a lack of suitable instrument. The L.O.C. lab allows the most reliable measurement of biochar C in soil.