Coal, kerogen, and petroleum source rock are vital in our search for sources of energy. GeoImage™ is the newest system from CRAIC Technologies for the optical analysis of vitrinite and other macerals commonly found in coal, kerogen, and source rock. GeoImage™ is designed to determine the energy grade of these potential power sources rapidly and accurately. It is used to ensure that the materials used in energy generation are optimum, consistent, and reliable.
One of the most important ways of grading the energy content of coal and petroleum source rock is to measure the optical reflectance of microscopic amounts of vitrinite. Vitrinite is a maceral and is comprised of various polymers, cellulose, and lignin.
Measuring the amount of light reflected by vitrinite macerals is a key test to determine the thermal maturity and therefore the energy content of coal, kerogen, and petroleum source rock. It is also used to test the suitability of coal blends for the manufacture of steel.
The procedure has been standardized by several international bodies including both ISO and ASTM. The procedures require the use of a microscope photometer such as the GeoImage™: a device designed to measure the intensity of light reflected from many microscopic sampling areas simultaneously. The process is simple: the GeoImage™ measures the amount of light reflected from samples from the coal blend at millions of points after which a statistical analysis is done by its software. The results of the statistical analysis are used to determine the amount of vitrinite in the sample. From that, the sample's thermal maturity and thus its energy content are determined. As hundreds of measurements need to be done on each sample, this used to be a very time-consuming process. Now the GeoImage™ can economically automate this process and dramatically improve a testing laboratory throughput and accuracy.
Image Credit: CRAIC Technologies
"GeoImage™ microphotometers were designed to speed up the analytical testing process of vitrinite coals and source rock," said Dr. Paul Martin, President of CRAIC Technologies, Inc. He added, "The traditional process is time and labor intensive requiring a petrographer to manually perform hundreds of measurements per sample. GeoImage streamlines and can even automate this process if the system is configured with programmable stages and autofocus. This means that a lab can save a lot of time and money while improving the quality of their results."
GeoImage™ can also do more than just measure the vitrinite reflectance of coal. GeoImage™ is also sensitive enough to measure the fluorescence from these materials as well as collecting full-color images. These additional capabilities give great flexibility in testing and a much higher level of discrimination than the measurement of just vitrinite reflectance. GeoImage™ offers all new software specifically designed for the vitrinite testing laboratory where it is designed to streamline the work process.
GeoImage™ can be offered either as a manual or automated system and reports can be stored in several easily accessible formats.