Global warming is one of the greatest current risks to humanity. As outlined in the Paris Agreement, and confirmed in the IPCC AR6 WG1 Climate Report released last August 2021, there is an urgent need for action tackling climate change, by reducing greenhouse gases emissions such as methane and carbon dioxide.
Both gases are currently at record high levels in the atmosphere, and this is mainly due to anthropogenic (human) activities. To determine the effectiveness of emission reduction policies it is essential to discriminate between anthropogenic sources and natural contributions. This can be done by measuring the stable isotopic composition of carbon dioxide and methane. The Stellar project (http://empir.npl.co.uk/stellarproject/) will support reliable isotopic composition measurement of methane and carbon dioxide by developing reference materials and accurate measurement methods.
Within the Stellar project, VSL is leading the development of isotopic methane reference materials that serve as calibration standards for the measuring equipment in the field. To prepare these reference materials, methane from fossil origin is mixed with methane from biogenic origin. Methane from fossil origin has been kindly supplied by the project partner Air Liquide.
Methane from biogenic origin was recently supplied by Nordsol, from a newly constructed bioLNG installation in a partnership with Shell and Renewi. This installation is located in Amsterdam and it was officially opened by the Dutch king Willem-Alexander last October 2021.
Biogas is made from organic waste, such as out-of-date peanut butter, then purified to obtain biomethane and finally cooled down to obtain bio-LNG. Samples for VSL were taken by Jerom van Roosmalen, CEO of Nordsol.