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Analytical Research Laboratory

Analytical Research Laboratory

Laboratory Capabilities

The Analytical Research Laboratory (ARL) provides quality data, flexibility, and rapid turnaround time in support of research activities at the EERC. The lab is equipped for routine and specialized analyses of inorganic and organic constituents, which are performed using classical wet-chemistry and state-of-the-art instrumental procedures. Established analytical techniques allow for the chemical characterization of a variety of environmental and biological sample types, including fossil fuels, biomass, combustion by-products, geologic materials, fine particulate matter, groundwater, wastewater, fish tissue, and plant materials. Particular attention is directed toward trace element analysis, including arsenic, mercury, and selenium.

Quality Assurance

The EERC laboratory staff follows U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ASTM International, and other standard methods for the analysis of samples. Analytical methods are routinely monitored for precision and accuracy with certified reference materials from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and other sources. The ARL analyzes certified parameters annually in a water pollution study acquired from a NIST/National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP)-accredited provider. Additional external quality assurance is maintained by participating in interlaboratory studies and proficiency programs such as the Coal and Ash Sample Proficiency Exchange™ (CANSPEX™). This participation allows the ARL to demonstrate competence in methods of analysis by comparing analytical results and techniques with other laboratories throughout the United States and Canada.

Research Activities

  • Mercury: The ARL plays a major role in the support of mercury research at the EERC. With several EERC projects focusing on the occurrence and fate of mercury in combustion systems, as well as the evaluation of mercury control technologies, the ARL staff has gained considerable experience in mercury chemistry and analytical techniques for providing precise and accurate data.
     
  • Center for Air Toxic Metals® (CATM®): The analytical efforts that support CATM projects include nickel speciation of particulate matter emitted from oil-fired units; mercury determination in alternative fuel sources such as biomass, oil/tar sands, and oil shale; low-level halogen determination in coal; and mercury and selenium determination in biological matrices to help evaluate the effect of selenium on mercury toxicity.
     
  • Measurement of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from combustion systems: The ARL supports research at the EERC related to the fate of HAPs in combustion systems by thoroughly characterizing the fuel, ash by-products, and stack emissions. Several EERC projects have evaluated the impact of mercury control technologies on the fate of other inorganic HAPs which include As, Be, Cd, Co, Cr, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sb, and Se.
     
  • Solid waste characterization: The toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) and other leaching procedures are employed for determining the leachability of RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) metals.
     
  • Biomass characterization: The ARL employs a variety of sample preparation and analytical techniques for the determination of major, minor, and trace constituents in biomass materials such as wood chips, switchgrass, and corn stover.
     
  • Biological sample analysis: To support research related to the health impacts of environmental pollutants, the ARL has capabilities for the preparation and analysis of biological tissues such as hair, blood, fish, and plant materials.
     
  • Water quality analysis: To support the activities of the EERC PCOR Partnership the ARL is testing the quality of water in areas where large-scale CO2 injections projects are underway. Over 40 parameters are being tested at each sampling location to help monitor the water quality over the course of the project.
     

Laboratory Equipment

  • 4200-ft², fully equipped, exceedingly clean laboratory with seven fume hoods
     
  • VG PQ ExCell Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer  (ICP-MS) with collision cell technology
     
  • Perkin Elmer Optima 2100 ICP-AES
     
  • CETAC M6000A cold-vapor atomic absorption spectrometer (CVAAS) mercury analyzer
     
  • PS Analytical Millennium Merlin cold-vapor atomic fluorescence spectrometer (CVAFS)
     
  • PS Analytical Millennium Excalibur hydride generation atomic fluorescence spectrometer (HGAFS)
     
  • Varian Spectra AA-880Z graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometer (GFAAS)
     
  • Mitsubishi TOX-100 Chlorine Analyzer with oxidative hydrolysis microcoulometry
     
  • Dionex ISC3000 ion chromatograph (IC) with conductivity detection
     
  • Dionex 2020i ion chromatograph (IC) with UV-VIS, conductivity, and electrochemical detection
     
  • CEM MDS 2100 microwave with temperature and pressure control
     
  • Shimadzu Total Organic Carbon Analyzer TOC-L

Useful Links

Center for Air Toxic Metals® (CATM®)

Plains CO2 Reduction (PCOR) Partnership