Performance Gains Using Hydrogen Carrier Gas in Refinery Gas Analysis

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The Application Notebook

The Application Notebook, The Application Notebook-09-01-2008, Volume 0, Issue 0

Escalating costs and increasing demands for helium, coupled with diminishing helium supply, have given rise to the investigation and use of hydrogen as an alternate choice of carrier gas for use in gas chromatography (GC) applications. This application note illustrates that the use of hydrogen as a carrier gas as an alternative to helium in refinery gas applications is not only possible, but also results in improved performance and higher sample throughput.

Clarence Wentzel and Mark Collins, Arnel Inc. and PerkinElmer, Inc.

Escalating costs and increasing demands for helium, coupled with diminishing helium supply, have given rise to the investigation and use of hydrogen as an alternate choice of carrier gas for use in gas chromatography (GC) applications. This application note illustrates that the use of hydrogen as a carrier gas as an alternative to helium in refinery gas applications is not only possible, but also results in improved performance and higher sample throughput.

Experimental

A PerkinElmer-Arnel Model 1117 High-Speed Refinery Gas Analyzer incorporating a PerkinElmer® Clarus® 500 GC was used, utilizing helium as the carrier gas for the light gas and hydrocarbon analysis channels. Nitrogen carrier gas was used in the hydrogen channel. Following the completion of the analysis using helium carrier gas, the carrier gas was then switched to hydrogen and optimized for maximum separation effeciencies. TotalChrom® Chromatography Data Systems was used for data collection. A 26-component refinery-gas calibration blend was used.

Operating conditions using helium as carrier gas are: Oven 60°C; Oven time: 15 min; Detector 1 (TCD/TCD) temp: 200°C; Detector 2 (FID) temp: 250°C; He Carrier flow: 30 mL/min; N2 Carrier flow: 36 mL/min; Injection volume: 1 cc (Figures 1a and 1b).

Figure 1

Similarly, operating conditions using hydrogen as the carrier gas are: Oven 55°C; Oven time: 8 min; Detector 1 (TCD/TCD) temp: 200°C; Detector 2 (FID) temp: 250°C; H2 Carrier flow: 65 mL/min; N2 Carrier flow: 80 mL/min; Injection volume: 1 cc (Figures 1c and 1d).

Conclusion

This application note has illustrated that the use of hydrogen as a carrier gas in a refinery gas analysis can effectively be used as a replacement for helium with virtually no negative affect on the resulting chromatography. Added benefits of such a change include a nearly 50% reduction in analysis time with no loss of resolution.

PerkinElmer, Inc.

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