Market Profile: Volatile Organic Extraction

LCGC North America

LCGC North America, LCGC North America-03-01-2019, Volume 37, Issue 3

Gas chromatography (GC) sampling of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is typically done by headspace, purge and trap, or thermal desorption instruments. Headspace sampling is the simplest of the techniques, where a vapor sample is taken from the space above the liquid sample in a GC vial.

Gas chromatography (GC) sampling of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is typically done by headspace, purge and trap, or thermal desorption instruments. Headspace sampling is the simplest of the techniques, where a vapor sample is taken from the space above the liquid sample in a GC vial. Residual solvents in pharmaceutical products and flavors in foods and beverages are important applications for headspace analysis.

Purge and trap (PT) involves sweeping an inert gas such as helium or nitrogen to extract VOCs from the sample. The VOCs are then absorbed in a short GC column trap, which is subsequently heated, and the volatiles are desorbed. Thermal desorption (TD) is similar to PT, the difference being that TD combines sample heating to the stream of inert gas to further enhance the extraction of volatile compounds in the sample. TD is typically used for workplace and occupational health monitoring, environmental monitoring, or analyzing residual volatiles emitted from products and materials, but can also be used to lower detection limits of GC methods.

Volatile organic extraction techniques are mainly used for environmental analysis, on soil, water, and wastewater samples. However, applications continue to grow in pharmaceutical, food and beverage, chemicals, paint, plastics, and other materials analysis. North America and Europe represent the largest markets for headspace, PT, and TD instruments.

The total market for volatile organic extraction techniques accounted for approximately $150 million in 2018, or roughly 7000 units shipped annually. Solid growth is expected for 2019 from environmental testing applications, particularly in North America and China.

For headspace analysis, users tend to pair their gas chromatographs with the CTC PAL sampler or with headspace autosamplers designed by the GC instrument manufacturer. Leading purge and trap suppliers include CDS Analytical, EST Analytical, OI Analytical (Xylem), and Teledyne Tekmar. Markes International and PerkinElmer are the leading suppliers for thermal desorption products.

Market size and growth estimates were adopted from TDA’s Industry Data, a database of technology market profiles and benchmarks covering laboratory and process analytical instrumentation that are updated quarterly. It also includes data from the 2019 Instrument Industry Outlook report from independent market research firm Top-Down Analytics (TDA). For more information, contact Glenn Cudiamat, general manager, at (310) 871-3768 or glenn.cudiamat@tdaresearch.com. Glenn is a market research expert who has been covering the analytical instrumentation industry for more than two decades.