Fuel contamination in petrochemicals
Fuel oil contamination has a critical impact on numerous aspects petrochemical production, from the overall quality of fuels, to the need for preventive maintenance of equipment, to compliance with environmental regulations. This is why petrochemical producers need an effective way to measure the concentration of chlorine contamination in fuel oils.
Used oils, such as motor oil, can be “re-refined” and recycled multiple times as lubricants, fuel oils, or raw materials by the refining and petrochemical industries—keeping them out of the waste stream. Yet, when high concentrations of chlorine are introduced into the used oil, it can no longer be recycled and may even turn into a hazard waste that must be disposed of in compliance with strict hazardous material management standards.
Chlorine contamination in petrochemicals
Chlorine compounds often find their way into used oil from lubrication additive packages, contamination from environmental sources, or as a product of wear. As waste oil is re-refined, some of the chlorine compounds eventually end up as hydrochloric acid, a toxic compound that can corrode furnaces and threaten public health. In addition, products created from the incomplete combustion of chlorine compounds can pose significant health risks and even damage the ozone layer.
To ensure chlorine compound contaminants are removed and that re-refined oil meets regulatory standards, scientists need an accurate and reliable way to analyze chlorine concentrations in used fuel samples. Older methods such as bomb calorimeters or potentiometric titration involve multiple steps, slowing the time to results.
Our ARL PERFORM’X Sequential XRF Spectrometer offers a fast and accurate way of analyzing the chemical concentration of chlorine contaminants found in recycled fuel oil.
XRF for fuel oil analysis
Today, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) has become the gold standard for performing these analyses, offering rapid and accurate materials characterization. XRF uses a primary X-ray source to excite fluorescent or secondary X-rays so they’re emitted from the sample. Because these X-rays are emitted with energies that correspond to the elements present, XRF offers a fast and simple way to conduct chemical analyses.
Using the Thermo Scientific ARL PERFORM’X Sequential X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer, researchers can speed their fuel oil analyses, saving time and labor costs while ensuring they obtain an accurate picture of the chemical composition. The spectrometer enables petroleum-based products to be measured directly without dilution, significantly reducing sample preparation time and increasing the speed and throughput of analyses.
With the ARL PERFORM’X Spectrometer, researchers can analyze as many as 60 samples per hour, using the instrument’s dual loading system for high sample throughput. They also get unrivaled stability and repeatability with fast, consistent results – even in situations where low levels of chlorine are present.
The ARL PERFORM’X Spectrometer gives researchers a quick and accurate method to ensure chemistry specifications are met. Using this instrument, the petrochemical industry can easily monitor the quality and safety of used fuel, improving waste oil recycling efforts and conserving a limited and valuable resource.
To learn more about how the ARL PERFORM’X XRF Spectrometer can be used to analyze total chlorine in oil, please see the Thermo Scientific application note.
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