Site-Specific Nitrous Oxide Isotope Analyzer for Measuring Bioremediation

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-12ER90254
Agency Tracking Number: 98769
Amount: $149,538.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: 08 c
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000577
Small Business Information
Los Gatos Research
67 East Evelyn Avenue, Suite 3, Mountain View, CA, 94041-1529
DUNS: 928805761
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Manish Gupta
 (650) 965-7772
Business Contact
 Manish Gupta
Title: Dr.
Phone: (650) 965-7772
Research Institution
DOE is responsible for the remediation of 1.7 trillion gallons of contaminated ground water and 40 million cubic meters of contaminated soil generated at over 7000 discrete sites from past weapons production activities. This remediation involves a variety of methodologies including bioremediation, in which substances are injected into the subsurface to enhance microbial decomposition, and natural attenuation, in which natural, unaided processes are used to remediate waste. One of the challenges involved in this work is quantifying the rate of bioremediation. Several methods have been utilized by DOE researchers; however, these techniques require extensive sample handling and preparation, making them unsuitable for field deployment or rapid measurements. Improved methods are required to quantify bioremediation rates and bacterial activity. Recent studies have shown that denitrifying bacteria (e.g. found at the DOE IFRC Oak Ridge and Rifle sites) produce N2O with a distinct isotope ratio (e.g. 15N/14N and site-specific isotope ratio). Thus, by measuring the isotope ratio of N2O gas extracted from the soil, researchers can obtain a measure of bacterial activity and bioremediation rates. However, current measurement technology for N2O isotopes involves extensive sampling and a custom isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS). In this SBIR program, Los Gatos Research proposes to develop a field-deployable analyzer for the accurate determination of 15N/14N and site-specific isotope ratios in nitrates (15N and 15N14NO vs. 14N15NO). The system will utilize LGRs proprietary mid-infrared Off-Axis ICOS technology to develop an analyzer to rapidly ( & lt; 5 minutes) determine N2O concentration and isotope ratios to better than 1% and 0.5 respectively. In Phase I, LGR will demonstrate technical feasibility by fabricating a prototype system and testing it to determine the instruments accuracy, precision, linearity, dynamic range, and time response. Then, LGR will work with Professor Joe von Fischer to deploy the analyzer for preliminary bacterial denitrification studies in soil. In Phase II, LGR will develop a fully autonomous sensor for the isotope determination of ambient nitrous oxide from soils. The sensor will include provisions for batch gas sampling, periodic calibration, and data reporting. At the conclusion of the program, LGR will deploy the analyzer at a DOE IFRC site (e.g. Rifle, Colorado) for long-term, continuous monitoring of bacterial denitrification in soils. Commercial Applications: During Phase III, LGR will sell the N2O isotope analyzers to isotope measurement laboratories, environmental research groups, global monitoring stations, and water quality management agencies. A market analysis suggests a 5-year commercial revenue exceeding $15 30M for these four markets alone.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo
Department of Agriculture logo
Department of Commerce logo
Department of Defense logo
Department of Education logo
Department of Energy logo
Department of Health and Human Services logo
Department of Homeland Security logo
Department of Transportation logo
Environmental Protection Agency logo
National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government