Volume 3, Issue 1 (January 2006)
Mercury Measurements in Fossil Fuels, Particularly Petrochemicals
The dangers of mercury and its derivatives, especially organomercury compounds have been well documented for almost half a century. Concerns remain regarding mercury contamination in aqueous ecosystems. Significant quantities of mercury are present in fossil fuels, particularly petrochemicals.
We still manage to pollute the atmosphere and environment by the use of coal and petrochemicals. The impact of mercury in natural gas has been such that there have been at least six experiences of plant failure which have been traced to corrosion due to mercury attacks on aluminium rotors in the plant fabric. Very little attention is being given to mercury removal strategies, and in order for these to be successful there is an urgent requirement to determine the speciation profile of the natural gas or liquid hydrocarbon condensates. Atomic fluorescence spectrometry is an ideal analytical technique to determine the levels of mercury both before and after removal systems. The authors will outline achievements of both laboratory and online measurement systems for this important area of research. These systems have been operating at the required levels of performance and in the case of some of the online systems, have been in place operating 24 hours per day 7 days per week for more than 2 years. This has encouraged other companies to install similar systems.