CTRG’s expertise encompasses analytical chemistry, industry-based research, and product development from brown coal and biomass carbon.

Located at Federation University’s Gippsland Campus, the Carbon Technology Research Group (CTRG) provides high-level analytical support that is tailored to projects in carbon capture and the creation of products from coal/biomass.

We undertake a wide range of projects, applying our combined 40 years of experience in chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques to the most challenging problems.

CTRG has the capacity to identify unknowns within samples and develop new methods of analysis.

Underpinned by our core analytical capabilities, our aim is to further expand our research capacity into lab and pilot production activities.

Our focus

Our niche is working with complex samples that display characteristics such as:

  • difficult matrices (eg. those with high toxicity)
  • odour impact
  • multiphase (eg. sludges and odour-generating samples)
  • reactive targets (eg. amines).

We also specialise in:

  • trace analysis (if the target is known)
  • speciation and what form the element is in
  • reverse engineering (process by-product streams)
  • deposits
  • emissions
  • odours.

Projects undertaken

CTRG has undertaken a wide variety of important projects, including:


  • characterisation of chemical changes with production temperature of co-mingled municipal waste to biochar
  • a wide variety of coal to products, biomass, gas and fuels projects


  • characterisation of process water from a coal HTD plant
  • analysis of trace oxygen and sulphur species in coal-derived fuels
  • characterisation of wastewaters from a range of industries


  • VOC analysis of sealants as part of an OH&S assessment in communications cabling
  • evaluation of emissions associated with drying options for brown coal
  • trace gas analysis of stack samples


  • development of a method to analyse chemical tag compounds used to monitor the electrical generator core associated with 500MW turbine
  • target compound analysis of condensates and tars from biomass pyrolysis
  • pilot/demonstration plant support
  • pulp and paper – identification and measurement of terpenes, taints and odours, foreign inclusions in process-streams, deposits and waste-streams

Some of our projects

Aqueous amine capture solvents

We’ve developed techniques to overcome the many challenges faced in analysing aqueous amine capture solvents and their degradation products, such as reactivity and concentration differences between major and minor components, which impacts upon their separation. This work has been published in Environmental Science and Technology and International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control and Energy & Fuels.

Generator core condition monitoring for power industry

Our project on generator core condition monitoring using thermal tags involved method development using chromatographic analysis to monitor specific chemical tags.

Absorption-based post-combustion capture of carbon dioxide

As experts in reactive gas absorption, amine degradation and the handling of flue gas impurities, our researchers were invited to contribute chapters to the book 'Absorption-Based Post-Combustion Capture of Carbon Dioxide', edited by Dr Paul Feron of CSIRO, Australia. This book was published as part of the Elsevier Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy.

Spontaneous combustion of brown coal slurry

We completed a project evaluating the spontaneous combustion properties of brown coal slurry when placed on an operating automotive exhaust system.

Custom humic and fulvic acid products for agriculture

CTRG continues assisting local agricultural product manufacturers with the development of custom humic and fulvic acid products