Language selection


Characterization Laboratory

Specializing in the analysis of biomass products, fossil, metallurgical and biofuels, fuel-related products and by-products in solid, liquid and gaseous states

Our mission and services

CanmetENERGY Ottawa’s Characterization Laboratory strives to meet the unique needs of Canada's energy technologies through active involvement in standards development and adopting new analytical techniques and methodologies.

We provide standardized and specialized analytical services, and use a broad range of spectrometric, chromatographic and classical analytical techniques.

Our services include:

Links to websites not under the control of the Government of Canada (GC) are provided solely for the convenience of users. The GC does not offer any guarantee and is not responsible for the accuracy, currency or reliability of the linked content, nor does it endorse the sites and their content. Information offered by non-GC sites to which this website links is not subject to the Privacy Act or the Official Languages Act and may not be accessible to persons with disabilities. Please see our Terms and conditions for more information.

Standardized testing

Along with in-house-developed test methods, the Characterization Laboratory offers a range of analytical techniques from the following standards committees: the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB), and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

  • Metallurgical coal, coke, combustion residues, biomass and refuse-derived fuels analysis: Some of the testing services include proximate and ultimate analysis, calorific value determination, ash fusion and elemental analysis, including mercury
  • Petroleum products, lubricants and biofuels analysis: Our capabilities in the physical and elemental testing of petroleum products and biofuels include ultra-low sulphur and nitrogen analysis determination of viscosity, acid number, as well as chlorine in pyrolysis oils
A scientist loads samples onto a gas chromatograph instrument coupled with Mass spectrometer (GCMS) for analysis
A scientist uses a powder x-ray diffraction (PXRD) spectrometer to determine and quantify phases present in a variety of energy R&D related samples
Analysts use a scanning electron microscope coupled with Energy Dispersive x-ray (SEM/EDX) for the determination of the morphology of a sample

Advanced Chemical Characterization

CanmetENERGY Ottawa’s Characterization Laboratory has expertise in advanced chemical characterization, focused on energy research and development (R&D). Specialized services include:

Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive X-ray (SEM/EDX) Spectrometry
We use this instrument for imaging, elemental analysis and mapping. Current applications include assessing new catalyst formulations and aiding in the determination and distribution of mineralogical phases present in metallurgical coal, coke and combustion residues.

X-Ray Powder Diffraction (XRD)
This X-ray technique is a non-destructive method of analysis used to identify diverse crystalline phases in metallurgical coal, combustion residues, catalysts, etc. We can provide qualitative and quantitative data as well as crystallite size and lattice parameters, depending upon the client’s requirements. The lab also has the capability to provide in-situ XRD analysis. This includes the use of various atmospheres and temperatures to identify phase changes.

Wavelength Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence (WDXRF) Spectroscopy
We use this spectrometer to determine the elemental distribution — from percent to parts per million levels — in a variety of matrices including metallurgical coal and coke ash, fly ash, biomass, deposits, catalysts, refuse-derived fuels, biofuels and petroleum products. With it, we can also perform elemental mapping with a 500 micron resolution, using an internal charged coupled device (CCD) camera.

Customized structural analysis
Scientists can provide authoritative advice on the development of improved catalytic, coking and combustion processes through advanced techniques like XRD and SEM/EDX.

Specialized Gas Chromatography (GC) and Mass Spectrometry (MS) techniques
Gas chromatography is performed on fuels and related products for organic speciation. Gas chromatography using a variety of inlet systems, detectors, and columns permits analyses such as:

  • simulated distillation of a variety of liquid fuels and lubricants to ASTM D2887/3710 specifications using a flame ionization detector (FID) and a temperature programmable inlet
  • refinery gas analysis for gaseous samples
  • oxygenated species qualification and quantification in pyrolysis oils using GC-MS

Method and standards development activities

The Characterization Laboratory supports Natural Resources Canada’s energy policy through analytical method development for alternative fuels research and advanced fossil fuels.

The lab also actively participates in standards development with the CGSB, ASTM, and ISO committees to help set national and international standards for fuels and test methods.

Contact CanmetENERGY in Ottawa

To inquire about the Characterization Laboratory, email our Business Office.

Find out more

Page details

Date modified: