(621dk) Development of Quantitative Carbon Detector (QCD) for Calibration-Free Characterization of Unresolved Complex Mixtures

Authors: 
Krumm, C., University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Maduskar, S., University of Minnesota
Paulsen, A. D., University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Dauenhauer, P., University of Minnesota

Research fields involving natural resources, such as biomass pyrolysis, wastewater remediation, and petroleum refining, involve the characterization of unresolved complex mixtures (UCM), products containing hundreds to thousands of carbon-containing compounds [1]. Quantification of UCMs is commonly achieved via carbon balance closure – major product compounds are separated, identified, and quantified via gas chromatography and flame ionization detection (GC-FID) until a satisfactory percentage of carbon in the sample has been quantified [2]. By this method, individual compounds must be individually identified and quantified, requiring purchase of expensive standards and time-consuming calibration. Here, we present the Quantitive Carbon Detector (QCD), a microreactor designed to quantify all carbon-containing analytes without the need for calibration [3]. The QCD integrates with current GC-FID instrumentation and selectively and completely converts all analytes to methane for subsequent quantification, yielding a calibration free method for quantification. The QCD allows for complete carbon balance closure without the need for identification of products and allows for the quantification of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, compounds not quantifiable on conventional GC-FID. Implementation of the QCD presents a significant advancement in analysis of UCMs by reducing analysis time and improving carbon balance methods.

[1] Mettler, M. S., Paulsen, A. D., Vlachos, D., and Dauenhauer, P. J., Catalysis Science & Technology, 2014, 4, 3822-3825

[2] Paulsen, A. D., Mettler, M. S., and Dauenhauer, P. J., Energy & Fuels, 2013, 27(4), 2126-2134

[3] Maduskar, S. et al., Lab on a Chip, 2015, 15, 440-447