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



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 >>> more information.


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 >>> read more.


‘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 >>> read more.


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 >>> read more.


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 >>> read more.

Fossil - Biogenic carbon determination

Develop methods based on 14 C measurements to independently quantify and verify the biogenic and fossil carbon fractions of fuels, flue gas CO 2 and atmospheric CO 2 . In the section Background more details can be found about the background of this field of research >>> read more.


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) >>> read more.

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 >>> read more.


‘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 >>> read more.

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 >>> read more.

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 >>> read more.

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 >>> read more.

Towards monitoring of taxon specific productivity in Arctic coastal phytoplankton

The Kongsfjorden (79°N, Spitsbergen) has been declared a European Flagship Site of Biodiversity. Future research priorities involve infrastructural innovations and a phytoplankton monitoring programme. Phytoplankton observations in the Kongsfjorden are at present highly fragmented and restricted to spring and summer, while sequential productivity estimates are missing >>> read more.

PhD projects

Attributing polar sea ice changes and accumulation changes on the ice sheets (NPP-2020) | Marlen Kolbe

In this project we will quantify the processes contributing to polar amplification, i.e. time-dependent local feedbacks (ice-albedo, lapse-rate and Planck) as well as the increased poleward transport of heat and moisture as well as surface evaporation which is strongly linked to sea ice >>> read more.

Changes in atmospheric hydrogen during the energy transition|Firmin Stroo

This PhD-research will focus on modelling the abundances of atmospheric Hydrogen. This is highly relevant since leakage rates of hydrogen are expected to significantly increase during the ongoing energy transition. Furthermore, recent papers highlight the potential role of hydrogen as an indirect Greenhouse Gas >>>read more

Changes in climate variability/extremes and their impact on European energy system security | Lieke van der Most

Climate affects changes in energy demand (e.g. winter heating, summer cooling, isolation techniques) and with the emergence of renewable energy sources (solar, wind, bioenergy) also increasingly decentralized energy production. This suggests that balancing energy production and demand will become increasingly complex, in particular under extreme (and coincident) climate conditions – an important issue that according to recent (review) studies has not been addressed thus far >>> read more.

Climate-vegetation modelling and Arctic migratory bird behaviour (NPP-2020) | Nomikos Skyllas

The polar climate is changing faster than in other parts of the world and will affect ecology. Within this project, we will identify, quantify and study the mechanisms behind Arctic climate changes (means and variability) relevant for (future) bird behaviour (migration routes, breeding locations, range changes, food availability) >>> read more.

Investigating the start of animal husbandry in the Netherlands by means of radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modelling l Merita Dreshaj

Chronological analysis of the development of animal husbandry in the Dutch wetlands has engendered much debate. The onset and duration of this complex process is still unclear, despite the amount of data available. Calibrated radiocarbon (14C) dates over this period lack precision due to the occurrence of a so-called calibration plateau which results in the adverse overlap of different phases, triggering ambiguity in the chronological narrative  >>>read more

Observations of concentrations and isotopic compositions of greenhouse gases in the stratosphere using AirCore | Joram Hooghiem

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 >>> read more.

Optimizing the use of CRDS techniques for stable isotope measurements in water, with biomedical and earth science applications | Xing Wang

Analysis of the stable isotope ratios of hydrogen and oxygen in water is widely applied in fields such as atmospheric research, hydrology, paleoclimatology and biology. The conventional way to measure isotope ratios is using Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS). However, IRMS is incompatible with water, so careful sample pre-treatment is necessary to transfer the hydrogen and oxygen isotopic signatures to a suitable molecule >>> read more.

Polar mercury pollution in the framework of global and regional emission sources (Arctic Centre) | Frits Steenhuisen

This project focuses on the geospatial distribution of global anthropogenic mercury emissions to air (1990 - present). The request for geospatially distributed emissions data originally came from the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) working group, which has been compiling and reporting information on global anthropogenic emissions of mercury since the mid-1990s and using this information to model mercury transport to and fate in the Arctic >>> read more.

Previous projects

Changes in vertical stratification and their impact on North Atlantic phytoplankton communities

Global warming will change physical, chemical and biological processes in the oceans. Ocean-climate models predict that warming of the surface layer may strengthen vertical stratification, starting earlier in spring and lasting longer in autumn. This results in suppressed upward mixing of nutrients from the deep ocean and altered irradiance regimes >>> read more.

Consequences of climate change for Arctic coastal pelagic microbial communities

The objective of this IPY project was to increase our understanding of the conditions that structure coastal Arctic microbial and phytoplankton production, abundance and diversity and how this is influenced by melt water of retreating glaciers. During the first summer campaign of 2007 in the Kongsfjorden - Krossfjorden system, Spitsbergen (78° 55’N, 11° 56’E),eukaryote and prokaryote diversity was studied using a range of molecular techniques >>> read more.

Consequences of climate change for productivity and diversity of marine phytoplankton at King George Island, Antarctic Peninsula

This is a large, international (with German, Argentinean, Spanish, British partners), multidisciplinary project that addressed the effects of increased melt water input on coastal marine ecosystems at King George Island (KGI), Antarctica. The maritime Antarctic Peninsula region is subject to pronounced changes >>> read more.

Developing new natural and sustainable products from marine microalgae

Algae have a green future. Taken by areal protein production these crops are far more productive than every other arable crop. Besides protein, algae also contain oil, essential omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamins and anti-oxidants like astaxanthin and fucoxanthin. They have been the basis of the marine food web for millions of years and species can be found in every imaginable water body >>> read more.

Genotypic and phenotypic variability in temperate marine picophytoplankton related to vertical mixing

Phytoplankton irradiance exposure (intensity and spectral composition) is strongly influenced by physical processes in the ocean. Stratification traps phytoplankton in the upper water layer, thereby enhancing ultraviolet radiation (UVR: 280-400 nm) and excessive photosynthetically active radiation (PAR: 400-700 nm) exposure >>> read more.

Monitoring CO2 storage

In 1992, a treaty with the objective to “ achieve stabilization of the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system ” was developed by the UN in Rio de Janeiro. In 1997, the Kyoto protocol was added to this treaty >>> read more.

Structuring of marine pelagic microbial communities by glacial meltwater in Ryder Bay, Antarctica

The Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is warming more rapidly than any other region in the Southern Hemisphere and significant glacial retreat is already reported. The associated changes in meltwater input to the ocean may impact coastal marine biota, of which the microbial communities (phytoplankton, bacteria) form the basis >>> read more.

Towards non-intrusive, high resolution primary production estimates in the Western Antarctic Peninsula region using Fast Repetition Rate fluorometry and experimentally derived electron requirements for carbon fixation

Large scale, satellite derived data demonstrate changing marine primary productivity in the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) region due to regional warming. However, field based primary production measurements are needed to support and verify this and, ultimately, to understand the biogeochemical and ecological impacts >>> read more.

Vegetable biomass from sea

Seaweed is a worldwide growing market. By means of, for instance, a sustainable alternative protein source, or a source for biofuels, seaweed can negotiate challenges of worlwide sigificance, including a circular economy. This project substantiates the motion that was presented by the D66 and VVD parties in the Provincial Council of North Holland, and agreed by the provincial government (Statenvoordracht 70: Zeewier als energiebron) >>> read more.

ZEEVIVO: proteins extracted from seaweeds for fish feed

Aquaculture, or fish farming, is a rapidly growing sector worldwide. Fishermen depend on fishmeal for fish feed. Thus far, this flour is produced from wild-caught fish, but that is not quite a sustainable method, while it impedes further growth of the aquaculture sector. The fish food industry is looking for alternative protein sources >>> read more.

Previous PhD projects

Cultivating microalgae on palm oil mill effluent for value-added products | Azimatun Nur

Cultivating microalgae on palm oil mill effluent for value-added products. South East Asia dominates the production of palm oil worldwide. During the traditional processing, palm oil mill effluent (POME) wastewater is generated which causes serious environmental problems >>> read more.

Haze Pollution in Chinese cities | Haiyan Ni

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 PM 2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 micrometers) by up to 25 per cent relative to 2012 levels by 2017 >>> read more.

Laser Spectrometry | Dipayan Paul

The PhD research is focused on the development of a new laser-based technique, Intra-Cavity OptoGalvanic Spectroscopy (ICOGS) for a fast and -hopefully- cheap measurement of radiocarbon concentrations. Murnick and coworkers (2008) showed the first successful demonstration of the ICOGS technique for detecting trace quantities of Carbon-14 >>> read more.

PhD project: Isotope measurements as a tool to study sources and processing of carbonaceous aerosol particles | Katrin Zenker

Atmospheric aerosol particles influence the climate system of the earth and the human health in a way, which is not yet completely understood. One of the most important constituents of aerosol particles are carbonaceous components. The analysis of these in combination with the investigation of the carbon isotopes 13C and 14C allows a better characterization of the aerosol particles >>> read more.

PhD project: Quantifying photosynthetic carbon uptake using measurements of Carbonyl Sulfide | Linda Kooijmans

A critical step in carbon modelling studies is to resolve both Gross Primary Production (GPP) and Respiration (Re). Although several methods have been proposed to partition the Net Ecosystem Exchange (NEE) into GPP and Re, large uncertainties still exist in quantifying these carbon fluxes >>> read more.

PhD project: Quantifying the regional budget of methane using atmospheric concentration and isotopic composition measurements | Truls Andersen

In 2010 it was estimated that methane emissions from agriculture accounted for close to half the Dutch methane emissions of 967 kiloton, while close to 26% is contributed by natural gas emissions. However, there is a large uncertainty in these estimates, and there have currently been no direct measurements to verify these estimates >>> read more.

Radon. Improving the radon-balance of the Netherlands for more accurate measurement-based determination of greenhouse gas fluxes | S.N. Manohar

The first step in stabilizing the concentrations of the GHG in our atmosphere is to estimate the emissions of these GHG and its primary sources and sinks. The Kyoto protocol is seen as a first step towards reduction of the emissions of GHG for a better sustainable future and requires that the world countries establish a system (national emission inventories) to quantify their emissions of GHG by different sectors and also their primary sources and sinks >>> read more.