Fast Bioethanol Analysis Following ASTM Method D 5501 Using the New Zebronâ„¢ ZB-Bioethanol GC Column

June 1, 2008
Ngoc Nguyen , Matthew Trass , Sky Countryman

The Application Notebook

Volume 0, Issue 0

The Zebron ZB-Bioethanol GC column reduces fuel ethanol analysis time to less than 8 min, while providing complete resolution of methanol and ethanol from all denaturant components. This newly developed GC column is suitable for analysis following ASTM Method D 5501 and Europe prEN 15376.

The Zebron ZB-Bioethanol GC column reduces fuel ethanol analysis time to less than 8 min, while providing complete resolution of methanol and ethanol from all denaturant components. This newly developed GC column is suitable for analysis following ASTM Method D 5501 and Europe prEN 15376.

Many bioethanol plants today require that the ethanol in a denatured fuel sample be analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) prior to transporting the product. The results of this test are required to be with the truck as it leaves the plant. However, due to the long analysis time, results often do not ship with the truck, but are faxed ahead to the final destination.

The current analytical procedure for ethanol in a denatured fuel product is covered under ASTM Method D 5501 and Europe prEN 15376. The methodology uses a long (100 or 150 meter) GC column and an analysis time up to 40 min to resolve methanol and ethanol from the denaturant, which is typically gasoline. The long run time is necessary to resolve these components because of the complexity of gasoline, which contains thousands of components, many of which can coelute with methanol and ethanol.

In this application note, the Zebron ZB-Bioethanol GC column is used to reduce the analysis time for this method to less than 8 min, while providing complete resolution of methanol and ethanol from all denaturant components. This newly developed GC column is suitable for fuel ethanol analysis under ASTM Method D 5501 and Europe prEN 15376.

Experimental Conditions

GC analysis was run on a Shimadzu™ GP-2010 GC system (Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Columbia, Maryland). Identical bioethanol samples were run following ASTM Method D 5501 using two GC columns: a 100 meter × 0.25 mm × 0.50 mm Zebron ZB-1 GC column (Phenomenex, 7MG-G001-17) and the newly developed 30 meter × 0.25 mm × 1.00 mm Zebron ZB-Bioethanol column (Phenomenex, 7HG-G020-22).

Results

The Zebron ZB-Bioethanol GC column reduces bioethanol analysis to less than half the time of the Zebron ZB-1 GC column (Figure 1). Complete resolution of ethanol and methanol from the denaturant was achieved, allowing for accurate determination of the ethanol fuel purity.

Figure 1

Conclusions

Determining the accurate amount of methanol and ethanol is critical to ensure the quality of the bioethanol fuel product. Using the Zebron ZB-Bioethanol GC column, a new phase specially designed for fuel ethanol analysis, resolution of methanol and ethanol from a sample denatured with gasoline can be achieved in less than 8 min. This dramatic time savings allows producers to test the fuel trucks before they leave the facility, thereby reducing potential problems. The ZB-Bioethanol GC column is perfectly suited for the fuel ethanol analysis following ASTM Method D 5501 and Europe prEN 15376.

For more information about this biofuel analysis, please email info@phenomenex.com.

Phenomenex, Inc.

411 Madrid Ave.

Torrance, CA 90501

(310) 212-0555; (310) 328-7768

www.phenomenex.com