PEM Inc. Signs Exclusive License Agreement with NIST for Portable 14CO2 Measurement Technology
Thousands of radiocarbon or 14C measurements are made each year by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). AMS measurements are made in regional facilities, are expensive for fast turnaround (days to weeks), and typically priced for monthly service at ~$500 per sample. The AMS analysis consumes the sample and is not suited for real time and high volume sample studies. The new NIST device licensed by PEM is projected to have a turnaround time of less than an hour for about half the sample cost of AMS.
The NIST license agreement grants PEM Inc. exclusive, worldwide rights to the Infrared Radiocarbon Spectrometer (IRS) patents for all fields of use including execution of sub-licenses. The financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.
The NIST IRS, now in the pre-commercial prototype stage, promises to succeed where other portable analyzers have not. The key features of the NIST analyzer are structural simplicity, low cost, operation in the linear regime of single mode cavity ring-down spectroscopy, and a calibration free methodology. Initial results for the IRS are available online with improvements to the first-generation instrument underway. NIST and PEM will collaborate on improvements to the device, with NIST focusing on the measurement science and PEM working toward commercial production.
The applications for the benchtop IRS are numerous and diverse, ranging from the oil and gas industry to medical diagnosis for the common ulcer. However, the importance of the IRS for carbon pricing, finance and trading cannot be overestimated according to PEM CEO, Bruno D.V. Marino.
An affiliate company, Planet Alpha Corp. (PɑC), with license rights to PEM patented technology for unique GHG products, intends to deploy networks of analyzers including the IRS across large natural (e.g., forests) and inhabited landscapes (e.g., cities) to directly quantify 14CO2 gas exchange resulting in unique carbon offset products. 14CO2 is the only direct conserved tracer for fossil fuel CO2. PEM will employ traditional universal gas reference standards to ensure comparability across 14CO2 field analyzers. PEM also intends to establish 14C Global Reference Facilities for emerging SI-traceable methods to determine absolute concentrations of 14CO2 in lieu of gas references tied to the radiocarbon half-life.
With further development, the IRS is expected to meet PEM's requirement for high precision (~ 1% or less) and high frequency (~one-half hour) field measurement for PɑC field 14CO2 applications to track, trade and manage fossil fuel emissions in a way that has not been possible with low data-rate conventional AMS analyses. PɑC radiocarbon measurements made across diverse projects will support the Paris Agreement now ratified by 160 countries through verification of fossil fuel emission reduction claims and benefit scientific efforts to understand the mechanisms of climate change. The IRS will also support performance verification services for carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) facilities that capture and geologically sequester CO2 from combustion of coal and natural gas for energy production.
About PEM Inc. Planetary Emissions Management Inc., Cambridge, MA, is a US small business dedicated to standardized measurement-
About PɑC. Planet Alpha Corp. (https://planetalphaforest.earth/)
Planetary Emissions Management Inc,
Bruno D.V. Marino, CEO, Founder