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Petroleomics with the Advanced Distillation Curve: A New Analytical Method for Renewable Fuels


Material Measurement Laboratory, Applied Chemicals and Materials Division

RO# Location
50.64.72.B6982 Boulder, CO

Please note: This Agency only participates in the February and August reviews.


Name E-mail Phone
Bruno, Thomas Joseph 303.497.5158


The analysis of complex fluids such as crude oils, finished fuels (including biofuels), vegetable oils, and mixed waste streams has posed significant challenges arising primarily from the multiplicity of components, the different properties of the components (e.g., polarity, polarizability), and matrix properties (such as dirty samples). The new field of petroleomics is geared to providing a detailed understanding of such fluids derived from fossil feed stocks. We have recently introduced an analytical strategy that simplifies many of these analyses and provides the added potential of linking analytical information with physical property information. This aspect can be used to facilitate equation of state development for the complex fluids. In addition to chemical characterization, the approach provides the ability to calculate thermodynamic and transport properties for such complex heterogeneous streams. The technique is based on our recently developed advanced distillation curve (ADC) metrology. The new method provides for (1) a composition explicit data channel for each distillate fraction (for both qualitative and quantitative analysis); (2) temperature measurements that are true thermodynamic state points that can be modeled with an equation of state; (3) temperature, volume, and pressure measurements of low uncertainty suitable for equation of state development; (4) consistency with a century of historical data; (5) an assessment of the energy content of each distillate fraction; (6) trace chemical analysis of each distillate fraction; and (7) corrosivity assessment of each distillate fraction. The collected sample fractions can be analyzed by any method that is appropriate. The analytical methods we have applied include gas chromatography (with flame ionization, mass spectrometric, and sulfur chemiluminescence detection), thin layer chromatography, Fourier-transform infrared, corrosivity analysis, neutron activation analysis, and cold neutron prompt gamma activation analysis. We have applied this method on product streams such as finished fuels (gasoline, E85, gasoline-ethanol blends, gasoline-γ-valerolactone blends, petroleum and biodiesel fuels, aviation fuels, rocket propellants), crude oils (including a crude oil made from swine manure and one made from poultry detritus), and waste oils (used automotive and transformer oils).


Advanced distillation curve; Biofuels; Distillation; Petroleomics; Renewable fuels;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants
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