Comprehensive Elemental Analysis of Biofuels and their Precursors by ICP-OES and Combustion Elemental Analysis


Analytik Jena

Date: 16:00:00 - Nov 03 2021
Speakers: Dr. Angela Gröbel, Oliver Büttel, Victoria Kirk
Moderators: Tom Lynch CChem FRSC

Biofuels, mainly derived from vegetable oils or the fermentation of plant material, have gained importance over the last few decades as more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives to fossil fuels. However, the production of raw materials for biofuel production has led to significant deforestation and competition for agricultural farmland with traditional crops used as staple food for humans and animals. To mitigate effects, new sources like algae have been developed for biofuels production.

Like fossil fuel refining, the biofuels refining process requires comprehensive chemical analysis to ensure the quality of raw materials as well as finished products. This includes monitoring various metals and non-metals that might have a negative impact on the process performance and the quality of finished products or generate harmful emissions and byproducts during the refining process. Analytical techniques, such as ICP-OES for metals analysis, as well as combustion-based elemental analysis for the detection of non-metals are commonly used in the fuels industries and regulated by local and international standard methods like ASTM and UOP methods.

This session gives an introduction and overview of the different types of biofuels and the progress made developing new source materials and production processes. Application examples using elemental analysis and ICP-OES outline the challenges laboratories face when analyzing samples from the biofuels production process and show how modern analytical technologies can overcome these. The production of biodiesel from waste animal fat will be presented as a case study.

Key learning objectives

  • Introduction to different types of biofuels, their production process, including an overview of undesired chemical elements 
  • Presentation of a fast, reliable, and cost-efficient elemental analysis solution for major elements such as carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and chlorine (C, N, S, X) to keep process and product quality at peak levels
  • Presentation of the advantages of High-Resolution ICP-OES for trace metals analysis in biofuel precursors
  • Case study of biodiesel production from waste animal fat and its quality monitoring

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Dr. Angela Gröbel
Dr. Angela Gröbel (Analytik Jena)

Dr. Angela Gröbel, senior product manager for elemental analysis solutions at Analytik Jena, is an expert in the field of C/N/S/Cl analysis in challenging sample matrices. Angela is a chemist by trade and worked in several R&D roles and project management positions at Analytik Jena. She co-developed and managed several new analyzers like the industry-leading multi EA series, which solved many major analysis challenges for industry and research labs. Right now, she is working on streamlining the C/N/S/Cl analysis workflow for the downstream oil and gas industry.

Oliver Büttel
Oliver Büttel (Analytik Jena)

Oliver joined Analytik Jena 15 years ago as an Application Specialist for Optical Spectroscopy. He later worked as a Product Specialist and Product Manager for the Atomic Spectroscopy product lines of the company. Since 2017 Oliver is Product and Applications Manager North America for Analytik Jena’s US branch.

Victoria Kirk
Victoria Kirk (Analytik Jena)

Victoria obtained a masters degree in Chemistry from the University of Houston. She worked as an Analytical Chemist in the Oil and Gas Industry for five years before joining Analytik Jena as an Application Specialist in 2020.


Tom Lynch CChem FRSC
Tom Lynch CChem FRSC (International Labmate Ltd)

Tom has 35 years of experience in the petroleum industry, specialising in the delivery of forensic and problem solving /method development capabilities for BP Fuels and Lubricants businesses globally. He was also a member of the BP Science Council representing Analytical Science and led a BP wide Analytical Science network.Tom has published over 30 citable papers, 4 book chapters and has given over 60 presentations at conferences. He is a past Vice President of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Analytical Division and a past Chairman of the RSC Separation Science Group. In addition, Tom is a recipient of the Silver Jubilee Medal by the Chromatographic Society and a technical achievement award by the Energy Institute.

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