Evaluation of a High Speed, High Resolution Gas Chromatography Instrument for Exhaust Hydrocarbon Speciation 2005-01-0683
The ozone forming potential (OFP) and specific reactivity (SR) of tailpipe exhaust are among the factors that determine the environmental impact of a motor vehicle. OFP and SR measurements require a lengthy determination of about 190 non-methane hydrocarbon species. A rapid gas chromatography (GC) instrument has been constructed to separate both the light (C2 - C4) and the midrange (C5 - C12) hydrocarbons in less than 10 minutes. The limit of detection is about 0.002 parts per million carbon (ppmC). Thirty exhaust samples from natural gas vehicles (NGV's) were analyzed to compare the rapid GC method with the standard GC method, which required 40-minute analyses on two different instruments. In general, evaluation of the commercial prototype from Separation Systems, Inc., indicates that a high speed, high resolution gas chromatograph can meet the need for fast, efficient exhaust hydrocarbon speciation. Recommended improvements to the rapid GC include a trap to remove carbon dioxide and water vapor, which interfere with the light-hydrocarbon analysis. Suitable gas standards for calibrating the flame ionization detectors and incomplete recovery of the heaviest midrange hydrocarbons are other issues that require further consideration.