Luc Tremblay - NBIF - FINB


Université de Moncton


Luc Tremblay


Energy & Environment

Solving The Mystery - How Decomposed Organic Matter Turns Into Fossil Fuel

In nature, almost all organic matter is rapidly decomposed after death and returns to carbon dioxide, the most important green-house gas. Here, the word “almost” is key, because there is a very small proportion of organic matter that does not biodegrade, and is preserved for thousands of years. This preservation occurs mostly in the oceans where the quantity of preserved carbon is even larger than that contained in all the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It’s that carbon that eventually becomes what we know as fossil fuel.

Exactly how that carbon is preserved is a scientific mystery. By examining natural organic matter in the ocean and in crude oil, Dr Tremblay is working to understand what are the chemical characteristics of the preserved organic matter.

By understanding how some decomposing matter is preserved, instead of released in the form of carbon dioxide, Dr Tremblay believes new technology could emerge that helps reduce the natural and human impact on global warming.

Crude oil is another complex mixture of natural organic matter. Large reservoirs of crude oil on Earth are acidic and corrosive for extraction, transport, and refining equipment. The novel analytical techniques developed and used by Dr Tremblay help to understand what are the compounds that contribute to the acidity of crude oils. Such knowledge is important for the emergence of technology that makes acidic heavy oil less harmful, and more useful.

For inquiries call Dr Tremblay at 011 33 4 30 19 24 28 (France) or email

High Resolution Photo #1

High Resolution Photo #2