Improving Refinery Laboratories with a VUV Analyzer

Analytical technologies have traditionally been invested in by refinery laboratories to help them characterize and certify the fuels that they produce.

The price they can charge, and therefore the profit they make, is significantly influenced by the knowledge of the composition of the fuels being produced. As such, it would be easy to assume that significant ongoing investment is made in technologies (CapEx), and that, to support these investments, increases in operational expenditures (OpEx) are observed.

However, refinery laboratory managers are often expected to reduce operating expenses.

Improving Refinery Laboratories

Modern laboratories are now having to work to reduced operational costs while also increasing productivity and efficiency, reducing operator complexity, and improving the quality of data. An example for finished gasoline is used here to explain more.

Today, gasoline characterization is done using FIA (ASTM D1319) to measure Olefins, GC-TCD (ASTM D3606) to measure Benzene, GC-OFID (ASTM D5599) to measure Oxygenates, and GC-MS (ASTM D5769) for total Aromatics. In terms of capital, this means investing in multiple analytical technologies, including an FIA apparatus, multiple GCs, along with TCD, OFID, and Mass Spectrometry detectors.

Operationally, these systems all have significant consumable requirements, including glass columns, silica gel and fluorescent dye for FIA, platinum reactors for GC-OFID, and deuterated standards for GC-MS.

Each technique usually requires a different operator due to complexity, which is not great from a productivity standpoint. Dedicated hands-on resources are required to perform the required analysis for some techniques like FIA, while others, like GS-MS, often require different resources all together.

VUV Analyzer Platform

The recently published ASTM D8071 offers a better solution where all four of the methods and analytical techniques mentioned above are combined in one, easy-to-operate, automated platform – The VUV Analyzer Platform for Fuels (Figure 1). This condensed platform will dramatically reduce capital costs, consumable requirements and costs, and operator complexity.

Furthermore, it can facilitate the simultaneous use of other methods such as ASTM D8267 with no adjustments to hardware or setup. This means dramatically improved laboratory efficiency, increased throughput, and better utilization of laboratory personnel.

As shown in Figure 2, the Total Cost of Analysis (TCoA) of ASTM D8071 running on the VUV analyzer Platform is 20 to 30 times less expensive per sample in labor and consumables to operate than ASTM D1319, D5769, D5599, and D3606 combined.

As shown in Figure 3, the TCoA of ASTM D8267 (Jet Fuel) is 10 to 20 times less expensive per sample in labor and consumables compared to ASTM D1319 and ASTM 6379 (HPLC).

This demonstrates that, by deploying the VUV Analyzer Platform for Fuels, it is possible to increase productivity and simultaneously reduce operating expenses.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by VUV Analytics.

For more information on this source, please visit VUV Analytics.

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