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Terrestrial-aquatic isotope sensor for in-situ field measurements

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0021535
Agency Tracking Number: 0000256547
Amount: $256,500.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 29aq
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002359
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-02-22
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-11-21
Small Business Information
19805 Hamilton Avenue
Torrance, CA 90502-1341
United States
DUNS: 625511050
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Jason Kriesel
 (310) 756-0520
Business Contact
 Jason Kriesel
Phone: (310) 756-0520
Research Institution
 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
 James  Moran
902 Batelle Blvd.
902 Batelle Blvd., WA 99354-1793
United States

 (509) 371-6798
 Federally Funded R&D Center (FFRDC)

Ecological and biogeochemical processes occurring along coastal interfaces are poorly understood on a mechanistic level and critically underrepresented in current models, impeding our ability to make informed resource management decisions. Stable isotope ratio measurements, e.g., 13C/12C, can provide detail about pathways and sources by adding specificity and attribution information that concentration measurements alone are unable to capture. Currently, isotope measurements are obtained by collecting a relatively small number of samples and analyzing those off-site using a laboratory device. The proposed field sensor will open up the ability to significantly increase the temporal and spatial resolution of the measurements enabling a far more detailed study of shifting conditions, along with the ability to capture transients. We propose the development of a novel field sensor for in-situ monitoring of stable isotope ratios in terrestrial-aquatic interface (TAI) regions. The sensor utilizes mid-infrared (Mid-IR) laser absorption spectroscopy to uniquely identify and quantify molecular species (e.g., CH4, CO2, and their isotopologues). The concept uses a novel hollow fiber gas cell, which enables high sensitivity in a compact form factor appropriate for remote field use. The proposed work leverages recent development of both CO2 isotope sensors for laboratory rhizosphere analysis along with related CH4 isotope sensors for in-situ deep-sea vent/seep analysis. For this effort, we are proposing to apply, optimize, and specifically engineer these new developments to address needs at coastal TAI field sites. This will include further reductions in size, weight, and power (SWaP), along with networking and integration of complimentary sensors for “smart” utilization. The effort will be done in collaboration with DOE field scientists, who will both guide the development and test the resulting sensor systems. In Phase I, a methane isotope system will be assembled utilizing a new sampling front end that will be specifically optimized for TAI applications. A brassboard sensor package will be produced to prove the basic concept. The brassboard will be tested by DOE scientists to baseline the performance and explore aspects in need of further development. Results and user feedback from the testing will be utilized to design a higher Technology Readiness Level (TRL) system to be produced in Phase II. The resulting sensors will also be utilized for a range of commercial applications related to natural gas (e.g., methane) leak and attribution analysis.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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