Chemical Industry FTIR

Chemical Manuafacturing
Western Australia
Capabilities Deployed
USEPA Method 320, USEPA Method 2

Chemical industry complex analyte real time analysis using hot, wet extractive FTIR.

The Challenge

One of Ektimo's clients had a significant measurement challenge. They wanted to quantify a number of analytes during the infrequent start-up of one of their reactors. Ektimo are primarily involved in "emission" level of analytes which are usually in the ppm level range but this was a "process" level requirement.

The additional issues were that we had a very short time period to capture the concentration of analytes and that the client wanted to understand the concentration profile over time. Capturing complex analyte emission profiles is not always possible as complex analytes often have more fundamental (some could say antiquated) measurement techniques. That means that we may absorb them onto different media or bubble the gas through different liquids to capture the analytes of interest.

There are often no "real time" analysers or instruments for complex analytes and if they are not regulatory compliant level analysers that can provide accurate, predictable and repeatable results.

The Strategy & Solution

Ektimo had recently bought an MKS fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy analyser which is a rare but very capable instrument. We would predict it is rare because of the price as it would be the most expensive instrument we have ever purchased within our niche air testing industry. In saying that it is also the most remarkable and unique piece of equipment we have used. It really is a real time multi gas simultaneous continuous gas anlayser. Other complex analyte instruments such as gas chromatographs (GC's) are actually batch based analysers, not continuous analysers.

The MKS Multigas 2030 is also a hot, wet, extractive analyser that keeps the sample temperature at 191 deg C. This is to avoid dew point issues and the potential loss of any analytes during transfer of gases from the source of interest to the FTIR. We coupled this anlayser in this instance with a custom integrated heated dilution system to expand the range of our FTIR from ppm levels to % levels.

Analytes such as methane (CH4), hydrogen chloride (HCl), hydrogen fluoride (HF), hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and ammonia (NH3) can be performed simultaneously and in real time with this MKS FTIR. Although expensive, the price for FTIR starts to make sense when a number of analytes are required. One of the amazing things about FTIR is that you can literally do 30 analytes simultaneously. You can also revisit a previous scan performed and re-analyse it. You could think of the the FTIR scan as an extremely high quality digital photo that you could revisit years down the track and potentially re-analyse for an analyte not known about at the time of the photo.

We were able to deploy this custom analyte set up in conjunction with continuous flow and temperature measurement to provide the client with not only complex analyte concentration profiles but mass rates (in grams per second) of these analytes over the required start up period.

By designing a customised system that could be integrated with our cutting-edge MKS FTIR analyser, we were able to:

  • increase the sensitivity of our analytical technique;
  • monitor for up to 30 different analytes simultaneously;
  • produce high-quality data; and,
  • monitor in real-time.

By deploying our customised system in conjunction with continuous flow and temperature measurement equipment we were able to provide the client with the requested analyte profiles for the reactor start-up period as requested.

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