The WHEEL Noble Gas Laboratory focuses on three primary areas of research:
- Determining the geological processes that control the migration of fluids (e.g., water, natural gas, oil, carbon dioxide, helium) in the Earth's crust and mantle;
- Developing geochemical techniques that constrain and improve unconventional energy exploration and extraction;
- Applying traditional isotope geochemistry to evaluate the potential impacts of energy extraction on the environment and human health.
The WHEEL Laboratory, which is located in the Ohio State University’s School of Earth Sciences, is led by Tom Darrah, Ph.D. and includes four doctoral candidates and several undergraduate researchers. The WHEEL laboratory includes a Thermo Fisher Helix SFT noble gas isotope ratio mass spectrometer, an Argus VI+ Multicollector noble gas mass spectrometer, several quadruple mass spectrometers, a RAD7 radon detection system, and three gas chromatographs with flame ionization, thermal conductivity, and electron capture detection. The WHEEL is established and available for collaboration and fee-for-service analyses.
To support this work, Dr. Darrah has received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. National Institute of Health, the Petroleum Research Fund, and the U.S. National Children's Study.