Beta Analytic Inc., located in Miami, Florida, was founded in 1979 with a commitment to meet the demand of radiocarbon dating with rapid delivery and responsiveness to customer needs. Rapid delivery of results was essential to the then emerging contract archaeology industry. The now mature Cultural Resource Management industry continues to rely heavily on Beta for its radiocarbon dating needs.
Enactment of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 attracted Beta’s managers in a similar fashion as the Archaeological Resource Protection Act of 1979. The 2002 bill specifically requires federal procurement agencies to purchase products with the highest biobased content. Since biobased content is a measure of present-day carbon vs. fossil carbon, only a minor modification in the final calculations was required to turn a “radiocarbon date”1 into a “biobased content certification.” With Beta’s expertise already in place, it was well positioned to immediately provide a reliable resource to the emerging biobased manufacturing industry.
In 2003, under the direction of the USDA, the CIRAS facility at Iowa State University undertook a program to test Beta’s capabilities (as well as many other laboratories). By June of 2004, Beta had analyzed over 200 biobased products under controlled test conditions delivering all results within 1 to 3 weeks. Results confirmed the viability of radiocarbon dating for biobased content certification and the commercial capabilities of Beta to provide a reliable service.
Also in 2004, Beta joined the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) Subcommittee D20.96 to help author the ASTM standard for biobased content analysis using radiocarbon dating. This standard was adopted in July 2004 as ASTM D6866, which is now used to verify the biogenic (biomass) fraction of heterogeneous fuels and CO2 emissions as required in greenhouse gas protocols. The method has been incorporated into California’s AB 32 and The Climate Registry’s greenhouse gas protocols.
Similar to ASTM D6866, the EN 15440, is used to monitor solid recovered fuels for the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme. The European Union also allows the use of ASTM D6866 for monitoring other types of heterogeneous fuels. The Australian government has incorporated similar recommendations for the use of ASTM D6866 for blended fuels. The Renewable Obligation Certificate program in the United Kingdom is also considering this method for monitoring biomass energy production.
In 2008, Beta was awarded the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation by Perry Johnson Laboratory Accreditation, boosting its reputation as a highly competent and reliable testing laboratory.
Today, Beta Analytic is the world’s largest radiocarbon dating laboratory. Its devotion to accuracy, dependability, and confidentiality is the foundation upon which its colleagues’ faith and trust is built.
The current climate change laws and regulations (i.e. Kyoto Protocol, UK’s Renewable Obligation, California’s AB32) aim to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by requiring and promoting renewable energy and biofuels. Beta supports these initiatives and provides the tools for organizations to analyze the biofuels and other materials being used to fulfill these requirements. This is accomplished by having access to the best available technology, which is capable of delivering accurate data, both efficiently and dependably. Understanding and satisfying this need has resulted in Beta’s growing client list of over 9,000 scientists and engineers from more than 30 countries around the world.
1. Graven, Heather D; Guilderson, Thomas P; Keeling, Ralph F. Methods for High-Precision 14C AMS Measurement of Atmospheric CO2 at LLNL. RADIOCARBON, Vol 49, Nr 2, 2007, p 349-356.