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Research ESRIG - Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen Centre for Isotope Research - CIO Research and project

Research and projects

Centre for Isotope Research, CIO

Main research

  • Isotope datering
  • Fossil- biogenic carbon determination
  • Stable Istopes cocentrations
  • Carbon Cycle Atmosphere

Ongoing projects:

  • Aerosols pollution China
    Serious haze pollutions characterized high aerosols loading often affect most cities in China, due to rapid urbanization and industrialization. In response to the extremely severe haze pollution the Chinese State Council announced its aim to reduce concentrations of PM2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 micrometers) by up to 25 per cent relative to 2012 levels by 2017. However, the factors contributing to the high levels of particulate matter present during haze pollution event remain poorly understood. Insights into the sources of the major contributor to PM is important for polices to mitigate the impact of PM on human health and climate change. Both stable (13C) and radioactive (14C) carbon isotopes will be measured on organic and elemental carbon constituents in Chinese aerosol samples.

  • Aircore
    AirCore is a coil of tubing, opened at one end. When flown on a balloon it is capable of obtaining a vertical profile of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) concentrations of CO2 and CH4. While ascending in the atmosphere the ambient pressure drops, and air is pushed out of the tube. When descending, the atmospheric pressure increases and air is pushed into the tube. When analyzed on continues analyzer for GHG a vertical profile can be obtained. Air can be recaptured for analysis of the isotopic composition. These greenhouse gases and the isotopic composition can be used as tracers for transport dynamics in the atmosphere. The profiles obtained from AirCore can be used to validate transport models that are used to derive surface fluxes of greenhouse gases. Secondly these profiles can be used to calibrate and validate remote sensing techniques like the Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy instrument utilized by TCCON and retrievals from several satellites. The aim of this project is to obtain regular vertical profiles of greenhouse gases up to 30 km. Furthermore, AirCore stratospheric air will be sampled for measurements of the isotopic compositions of CO2 and CH4.

    ‘Airborne Stable Isotopes of Carbon from the Amazon’ is a project (ERC consolidator) that aims to measure stable isotopes of CO₂ in air from the Amazon. The project started in 2015 and will run for five years. Over that period, we will collect thousands of air samples using light aircraft over the Amazon. In various laboratories in Brazil and the Netherlands we will measure levels of CO₂, and of its of δ¹³C and Δ17O isotope ratios.

    The future climate of the Earth strongly depends on the capacity of the global ecological system to sequester atmospheric CO₂, and on the abundance of stratospheric sulphate aerosols (SSA). These aerosols form a layer that resides at about 16 km altitude that, contrary to CO₂, has a cooling effect on the climate. These two climate-regulating mechanisms are intricately linked to an atmospheric gas that makes up only a tiny fraction of the Earth's atmosphere, carbonyl sulphide (COS). Maarten Krol from Wageningen University, through this ERC-advanced grant, aims to fundamentally improve our limited understanding of the COS atmospheric budget which would therefore signal a major step forward in our ability to diagnose CO₂ uptake and SSA formation. The project also combines innovative modelling and measurements (by CIO) that will eventually allow breakthroughs in the coupled COS and CO₂ budgets, and unlock the potential of COS as a new climate diagnostic.

    Exact Chronology of Early Societies Exact Chronology of Early Societies (ECHOES) is a 5-year project funded by the European Research Council and based at the University of Groningen. Its central aim is to develop a new approach to radiocarbon dating, one that is accurate to the exact calendar year. [link to project website].

    Fiducial Reference Measurements for Ground-Based Infrared Greenhouse Gas Observations (FRM4GHG) is a European Space Agency (ESA) funded project focusing on the intercomparison of instruments and harmonization of retrievals and products from collocated new and established GHG observation ground based Infrared instrumentations to get Fiducial Reference Measurements (FRMs) for Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). This project has received research funding from the European Space Agency's FRM Programme under grant agreement no. ESA-IPL-POE-LG-cl-LE-2015-1129.

  • MEMO2
    MEthane goes MObile - MEasurements and Modelling MEMO2', a European Training Network (MSCA-ETN) with more than 20 collaborators from 7 countries, will identify and evaluate methane emissions and support mitigation measures by developing new and advanced mobile methane measurements tools and networks, isotopic source identification and modelling at different scales. The project aims to educate a new generation of “cross–thinking” scientists, which are able to effectively implement novel measurement and modelling tools in an interdisciplinary and intersectoral context. [link to MEMO2 website].

  • Metrology for Biomethane
    Development of standardised test methods for the parameters (mainly impurities) to be monitored when injecting biomethane into the natural gas grid and when using it as a vehicle fuel. A further objective is to develop or improve the measurement standards for these parameters, for example the use of 14C for the bio-to-fossil ratio. This project (H2020-Euramet) will closely liaise with the biogas producing and upgrading industry, regulators and biomethane testing laboratories to ensure that the developed test methods are robust and efficient and can readily be implemented.

    ‘Readiness of ICOS for Necessities of Integrated Global Observations’ is a 4-year H2020 project with a total budget of 4,719,680.00 euros. RINGO has 43 partners in 19 countries and consists of 5 work packages with specific emphasis on the further development of the readiness of ICOS Research Infrastructure (ICOS RI) to foster its sustainability. [link to ICOS website].

  • Rotterdam GHC - Green deal
    Together with colleagues from Wageningen University and TNO an emission verification system will be developed, aimed at the Rotterdam region: an urban region with a high concentration of traffic and industry. Key elements in the observation are atmospheric oxygen and radiocarbon. For the analysis and quantitative interpretation of the measurements numerical models will have to be developed, in co-operation with other group members and Wageningen colleagues.

  • Ruisdael Observatory | Drone AirCore
    Rationale for inclusion in Ruisdael: Calibrate and validate remote sensing measurements; Quantification of GHG emissions and aerosols; Partitioning GHG and air pollution sources; Bridge the spatial scale gap between mobile van and aircraft. [link to Ruisdael observatory].

    Ruisdael Observatory | Lutjewad station
    For the Ruisdael observatory, the extensive greenhouse gas measurements will be complemented by aerosol – cloud infrastructure. These will include cloud and aerosol profiling remote sensing instrumentation as well as in situ aerosol measurements. An ToF-ACSM will, beyond chemical characterization of the aerosol, also allow for source apportionment of the organic fraction. This ideally complements the 14C source apportionment methods which has been published and is in the process of updating. [link to Ruisdael observatory].

  • Ruisdael Observatory | Rotterdam
    In the coming decade, the Rotterdam area will be subject to large changes in the energy system, such as the phase-out of coal-fired powerplants and increased electrification of transport systems, providing unique opportunities to test sensitivity of an urban observational system to monitor energy transitions towards a low carbon society. At present, 13 basic air quality stations are present in the Rotterdam area (operated by RIVM-DCMR), mostly focusing on inner-city air quality (street stations). [link to Ruisdael observatory].

  • SIRS Metrology for stable isotope reference standards
    New capabilities to identify source of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide will improve emissions monitoring. This project (H2020-Euramet) will develop a new infrastructure including methods and instrumentation to underpin measurements of stable isotopes of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, two major greenhouse gases, which enable their origin to be identified.

Ongoing PhD projects:

  • PhD student: T. (Truls) Andersen
    Title: Quantifying the regional budget of methane using atmospheric concentration and isotopic composition measurements > Summary of PhD project.

  • PhD student: E. (Elise) Broekema
    Title: Independent verification and attribution of fossil CO2 emissions using atmospheric oxygen > Summary of PhD project.

  • PhD student: J.J.D. (Joram) Hooghiem
    Title: Observations of concentrations and isotopic compositions of greenhouse gases in the stratosphere using AirCore > Summary of PhD project.

  • PhD student: S.N. Manohar
    Title: Radon > Summary of PhD project.

  • PhD student: X. (Xing) Wang
    Title: Optimizing the use of CRDS techniques for stable isotope measurements in water, with biomedical and earth science applications > Summary of PhD project.

  • PhD student: K. (Katrin) Zenker
    Title: Isotope measurements as a tool to study sources and processing of carbonaceous aerosol particles > Summary of PhD project.

Previous projects:

Previous PhD projects:

  • PhD student: L.M.J. (Linda) Kooijmans
    Title: Quantifying photosynthetic carbon uptake using measurements of Carbonyl Sulfide > Summary of PhD project.

  • PhD student: H. (Haiyan) Ni
    Title: Haze Pollution in Chinese cities: Sources and formation mechanisms of particulate air pollution > Summary of PhD project.

  • PhD student: S.W.L. (Sanne) Palstra
    Title: Fossil - Biogenic carbon determination. 14 C-based determination of biogenic and fossil carbon fractions in fuels and CO 2 emissions > Summary of PhD project.

Last modified:07 September 2021 1.49 p.m.
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