We are involved in the "Deep Energy" i.e. one of the four directorates of the Deep Carbon Observatory program ( http://deepcarbon.net/), i.e. an international concortium focusing on the study of deep carbon and supported by the Sloan Foundation.
We are particularly involved in abiotic generation of hydrocarbons in hyrdothermal systems. During hydrothermal alteration of both basic and ultrabasic rocks , H2 is produced by reduction of water , following the oxidation of Fe2+ minerals. When CO2 is present, then the H2 provides reducing conditions which can produce CH4, but also other carbon species such qu'alcanes , alkenes , formic acid , formadehyde , etc. .. If such molecules are observed in the natural environment (e.g. in black smokers present on ultrabasic substrata) , experimental work has so far struggled to replicate these reactions significantly . The role of catalysts has been notemment evidence . In this context, we are particularly interested in the solid carbonaceous phases produced in experimental samples that have not at all been studied in previous work