Emerging Industrial Applications in MS Covered at HTC 2024


On May 28, experts presented on emerging industrial applications during the International Symposium on Hyphenated Techniques in Chromatography and Separation Technology, in Leuven, Belgium. Led by Session Chair Peter Van Broeck, this session was dedicated to sharing what mass spectrometry (MS) and other analytical chemistry techniques can do on a practical level in various fields.

The university library in the evening, Leuven, Belgium | Image Credit: © bbsferrari - stock.adobe.com

The university library in the evening, Leuven, Belgium | Image Credit: © bbsferrari - stock.adobe.com

The first presentation, titled “The rise of MS based structure identification: a Star Mass Story,” was presented by Filip Cuyckens of Johnson & Johnson in Belgium. Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC–MS) has become the analytical method of choice for identifying drug metabolites in complex biological matrices; this stems from its selectivity, throughput, sensitivity, and its structure identification capabilities. However, full structure elucidation can oftentimes be challenging. While other techniques have been used as substitutes, it has become easier to arrive at a final structure based on MS-related methods over the years, with fragmentation still being the basis for MS structure elucidation. In this study, Cuyckens and his team discuss the advancements made in this type of field.

Following this, another workshop, “Use of Selected-Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS) to Monitor Industrially Relevant Volatile Organic Compounds in Air,” was held. Led by An Adams, TK TITLE at Dow Core R&D Analytical Science in The Netherlands, this talk revolved around monitoring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in air. VOCs can present potential hazards, discomfort, or odor nuisance, and due to increasing environmental concerns for indoor and outdoor air quality, specifications for VOC concentrations in air are gradually becoming more stringent. For this study, Selected-Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT–MS) was evaluated as a complement for existing gas chromatography (GC) techniques, where combining speed of analysis and sensitivity is required.

Additionally, Hannes Lüdtke of the German Aerospace Center presented “Compositional analysis for prescreening of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) using a multidetector comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatograph (GCxGC–FID/qMS).” As aviation strives towards becoming more sustainable, various approaches, such as the application of alternative hydrogen or battery-powered propulsion systems, will be required. However, when it comes to long-haul flights and the currently existing fleet, improving the climate impact will mainly rely on using sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). SAF are hydrocarbon-based alternative fuels that are compatible with conventional aircraft while providing multiple possible approaches to improve aviation sustainability. In this workshop, Lüdtke discussed how SAF can be prescreened using a GCxGC–FID/qMS system, and what this could mean for the future of environmentally friendly flying.

Finally, the workshop concluded with “Speciation of oxygen- and nitrogen-containing molecules in plastic pyrolysis oils,” led by Bruno da Costa Magalhaes TK TITLE AT Dow Benelux in The Netherlands. Plastics can range in materials that have different characteristics, properties, and uses. Widely used around the world, plastics all require appropriate waste management afterwards. In the context of this study, using feedstock derived from plastic waste in existing industrial processes could be key to improving environmental performance. Pyrolysis is a thermochemical process where plastic waste is converted into plastic pyrolysis oil (PPO), which can be used as feedstock for steam crackers to produce virgin-grade polymer products. However, due to the diversity of plastics and how they can be used, PPOs often contain molecules that are not present in fossil-based feedstocks, such as oxygenates and metals. Therefore, these molecules must be speciated to define a proper upgrading process before feeding PPO into steam crackers; in this study, the scientists used a comprehensive gas chromatography system coupled to a high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC-HR-TOFMS) for this purpose.


(1) 2B: Emerging Industrial Applications. Dr. H. Weinreich, Hamburg, Germany 2024. https://www.conftool.pro/htc-18/index.php?page=browseSessions&form_session=146 (accessed 2024-5-29)

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