Tier III-Compliant Sulfur Analysis with 100% Air

The Nsure Elemental Analyzer allows elemental sulfur analysis using air or oxygen as the combustion medium, depending on which is more appropriate for your analysis. This, combined with the state-of-the-art system, means that the sulfur analysis is highly reproducible and repeatable throughout all production and blending processes.

The Problem

Sulfur contamination is unwanted in oil and fuel products as its presence reduces the catalytic capacity of fuel systems, making energy conversion less efficient, and it also increases the volume of pollutants (such as VOCs, CO, NOx and hydrocarbons) which are emitted from the exhaust. For this reason the sulfur content of fuels is highly regulated.

Sulfur regulation can represent a challenge for oil refiners who must now ensure that their processes adhere to increasingly demanding standards for the sulfur content in gasoline, diesel, kerosene and jet products. The latest of these regulations is the Tier III requirements.

The Solution

The NSure elemental sulfur analyzer uses air as a both a combustion source and a carrier gas for most analyses. This is advantageous to using oxygen as a combustion source, and argon as a carrier, which can be expensive to source and difficult to deliver to the system.

Additionally, using an easily combusted gas such as oxygen requires strict safety protocols to be followed, which can increase the expense of analysis. Using 100% air as a combustion source keeps these costs lower and improves safety.

The advanced technology used by NSure helps to control costs by providing preventive maintenance feedback on the lifetime of key instrument components.

The results provided by NSure’s sulfur analysis are highly reproducible and repeatable throughout the entire oil refining processes, allowing refineries to be confident that their analyses fall within regulations. The system can be used to adhere to the Performance Based Measurement System (PBMS) Tier III requirements for a process environment.

The NSure Sulfur Analyser has been produced for usability and power efficiency when used in the field. The system uses less electronic boards than its predecessors, meaning it has low noise and high stability for the production of extremely accurate results. The machine is operated via a touchscreen interface, which remains functional in adverse weather, e.g. wet or dusty.  

The instrument delivers data as it is collected and also provides calibration, method, validation, alarm and digital output controls - all of which can be viewed remotely from any global PC, provided both are connected to the Internet. Communication from the instrument can also be achieved using a direct RS-485 or Ethernet connection. The analysis data can be downloaded using any of these methods in a .CSV file.

The NSure Sulfur Analyser is based on the established technology used in the previous Antek 6200 model, which was known for its high accuracy. This type of analysis is also used by labs - by using the same products that labs use to analyze sulfur content; refiners can be confidently operated at the upper limits of sulfur content, to maximize profits, without having to worry about inaccuracies of measurement resulting in non-adherence.


As demonstrated in figures 1 and 2, a diesel sample was analyzed for sulfur content at sulfur concentration levels of 7 ppm and 4 ppm. The measurements obtained show that NSure delivers the same results as a system that uses oxygen as a combustion gas for analysis of the same sulfur concentrations.

Research has shown that analysis of sulfur contamination below 2 ppm is not recommended using air as a combustion gas, instead at these low levels oxygen should be used.

Test results for system with oxygen as combustion gas and argon as the carrier gas.

Figure 1. Test results for system with oxygen as combustion gas and argon as the carrier gas.

Test results for the NSure when air is both the combustion gas and the carrier gas.

Figure 2. Test results for the NSure when air is both the combustion gas and the carrier gas.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by PAC L.P.

For more information on this source, please visit PAC L.P.


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