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Cambridge, MA, United States

Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.93K | Year: 2008

The value of traded financial instruments used to comply with greenhouse gas emissions reached 29 billion dollars in 2006, yet pricing for carbon credits has remained volatile and uncertain, in part due to an incomplete understanding of the carbon cycle at local, regional, and global scales. Monitoring CO2 concentrations is critical to quantifying carbon fluxes e.g., sequestration per sink; desequestration per source, but concentration data alone do not fully resolve source or sink issues. This project will develop and demonstrate a family of low-cost, field-ready, high-precision analyzers for the determination of the carbon isotopologues (13/12C, 14/12C, 18/16O) of atmospheric CO2. Phase I funding will be used to build an initial analyzer for 13C ratios of atmospheric CO2. The laser approach will be expanded in Phase II to include the determination of 18O and 14C for atmospheric CO2, providing an unprecedented resolution of carbon source and sink terms for fossil fuels i.e., the Seuss Effect in a single instrument. Compared to competing technologies, the approach will offer multi-isotopic capability in a single instrument, improved stability and sensitivity, and low cost. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: Deployment of the new analyzers would allow the collection of spatially resolved, real-time, high-precision isotopic data that not only would provide an improved understanding of the carbon cycle but also could be used to answer the key questions that underpin pricing uncertainty and third party verification in capital markets

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