Compositional Analysis of Petroleum by MS

June 2, 2009
Helen A. Castro

E-Separation Solutions

Fossil fuels are a limited resource, and the petroleum industry is always on the lookout for ways to extract more useful materials from crude oil. This session focuses on the use of mass spectrometry in the analysis of petroleum.

Fossil fuels are a limited resource, and the petroleum industry is always on the lookout for ways to extract more useful materials from crude oil. This session focuses on the use of mass spectrometry in the analysis of petroleum.

First up in this session is Wolfgang Schrader of the Max Planck Institute of Coal Research (Mülheim/Ruhr, Germany), who will present “High-Resolution MS-MS Techniques for the Investigation of Crude Oils and Its Fractions.” Details of this new analytical protocol for investigating upgrading procedures of crude oil using MS-MS techniques will be presented.

Rachel L. Sleighter of Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Virginia) will be the second speaker in this session. Her presentation is titled “Noninvasive Molecular Characterization of Kerogen and Its Insoluble Biopolymer Precursors by Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry.” The ultimate goal of the technique she discusses is exploring possible maturation pathways of kerogen and coal.

“Comprehensive Characterization of Crude Oils by Thermoanalysis Coupled to a Novel Photo-Ionization Mass Spectrometer: Signatures of Vaporized Hydrocarbons and Asphaltene-Pyrolysis” is scheduled to be presented by Robert Geißler of the Universität Rostok (Rostok, Germany). The technique he describes is used to reveal the organic fingerprint of crude oils, distillation products, and asphaltene pyrolysis.

The next presenter is Amy Mckenna of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (Tallahasses, Florida), who will deliver “A Unified Theory of Asphaltene Structure.” The use of FT-ICR MS to define the compositional space occupied by asphaltene and maltene fractions in crude oil will be addressed.

Those of you who read the April 2009 issue of Spectroscopy (www.spectroscopyonline.com) will be familiar with the next presenter, Francisco Alberto Fernandez-Lima (Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas), whose article on IM-MS for petroleum research was featured in that issue. Here he presents “Fingerprinting Heteroatom Hydrocarbons Using Ion Mobility–Mass Spectrometry,” focusing on the separation of heteroatom hydrocarbons based on their gas-phase conformational space and molecular weight distribution.

The final speaker in this session will be David Pinkston of Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana), who will discuss “High-Energy Laser-Induced Acoustic Desorption/Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometric Analysis of Heavy Petroleum Products.” Pinkston focuses on the mass spectrometric characterization of the heaviest petroleum fractions and the evidence showing the ability to distinguish the geographical origin of asphaltenes.