To face climate change, an increasing number of countries are adopting programmes to improve ambient emissions monitoring of ozone precursors such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The main objective of these guidelines is to obtain more comprehensive and representative data on pollution caused by ozone and its precursors.
VOCs, which can be oxygenated or halogenated, are emitted in a wide concentration range from background level (ng/m3) to high concentrations (mg/m3) near the fence line industrial sites. These compounds are ozone precursors and can significantly reduce lung function and induce respiratory inflammation. Therefore, industrial bodies need to identify them to be in compliance with the local authorised limits.
The great number of molecules to be analysed and the wide range of concentrations require the use of Thermal Desorber Gas Chromatographs (TDGCs) to pre-concentrate, separate and characterise complex gas mixtures. There is a need for simple and fast industrial monitoring systems capable of performing continuous analysis with automatic validation of the results.
C2 to C16 monitoring including vPAHs and terpenes in less than one hour
Chromatotec® airmOzone solutions are specifically designed for ozone precursors monitoring and track US EPA molecule lists, including more than 88 VOCs (list of PAMS 56 and toxic list TO 14) in addition to volatile Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (vPAHs) and terpenes. These innovative solutions, recognised as worldwide top three by US EPA for ozone precursors from C2 to C12, extend now their capabilities with C2 to C16 quantification, including Naphthalene, Acenaphtylene, Acenaphtene or Fluorene, Phenanthrene or Anthracene from vPAHs.
PAHs are a group of over 100 different chemicals known to be formed typically during incomplete combustion of organic matter at high temperatures. Their major sources in the atmosphere include industrial processes, vehicle exhausts, waste incinerations, and domestic heating emissions. Due to their carcinogenic and mutagenic effects, 16 PAHs are currently listed as priority air pollutants.
Actual analytical methods dedicated to monitoring PAHs require multistep sampling preparations and are not suited for continuous monitoring. Automatic TDGCs equipped with Flame Ionisation Detector are the standard method for the monitoring of volatile and semi-volatile hydrocarbons (MCERTs 2012). This technique allows continuous hydrocarbon identification and quantification, from ethane to naphthalene.
airmOzone combines two autoGC-FID (C2C6 and C6C12 or C6-C16) based technology with automatic data validation system (internal permeation tube) to check reliability of the solution. This all-in-one solution is centralised in a single mobile cabinet for mobile van or lab and on field inspection. In addition, latest development helps to appreciate, on field and at a glance, contributions of anthropogenic or biogenic pollutants as terpenes in ambient air without any molecule loss risks.
Phenol and formaldehyde: dedicated solution for dedicated regulation
Recent legislations in Eastern Europe include considering phenol and formaldehyde (HCHO) as additional tracer molecules of industrial activities. Phenol is integrated on airmOzone system, while an additional GC-FID module is specifically used for formaldehyde, showing the versatility of the integrated solution.
Laboratory tests carried out on Phenol demonstrate the very good linearity and sensitivity of the airmOzone system (Figure 1). The Low Detection Limit (LDL) calculated using Mcerts guidelines is below 10 ppt for the airmoVOC C6-C16.
Online quantification of hundreds of VOCs in ambient air without coelution risks
To avoid coelution of light and heavy VOCs in short time (30 to 60 min) analyses, airmOzone combines both autoGC-FID C2C6 and C6C12 with a robust MS detector. Excellent identification and sensitivity are achieved along with quantification down to ppt concentration levels (ng/m3).
Associated with H2 and air generators manufactured by the company itself, this solution appears as a standalone solution. No need for gas cylinders; only power supply is requested.
All analytical systems are calibrated using certified primary gas standard during quality control. Internal permeation tubes are used to confirm the stability of the system on site. The instruments are fully automated, thanks to the internal calibration and dilution system (airmoCAL MFC).
The Vistachrom software hosted in the embedded PC manages analysers and all peripherals for easy remote diagnosis or data access. Data stored with a year’s capabilities for storage are transferred if needed by standard Modbus protocol or adjusted if needed for full compatibility with existing data logger.
Advantages of dual FID and MS detection
The airmOzone TD-GC-FID/MS system allows the automatic validation of the results and the automatic selection of the most appropriate response obtained from the two detectors integrated on the same equipment, according to analytical performance criteria.
Moreover, this configuration reduces the risk of losing a specific campaign of measurement due to detector saturation: each detector acts as a backup for one another.
Versatile analytical solution for versatile applications
airmOzone is a versatile solution able to track ozone precursors responsible for environmental pollution. Its modularity allows integrating additional systems such as formaldehyde, or to associate a second MS detector to resolve coelutions or to avoid risks of saturation when exposed to important concentrations. This fully automatic system allows non-specialised operators access to expertise level results. The instrument is perfectly suited for the monitoring of processes with analysis lengths between five and 30 minutes. Reliable thanks to linear response of FID performance, this mobile solution has no need for gas cylinders in comparison with traditional uses in laboratories.