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Chemical Composition Analysis

The need for a consensus standard targeting the measurement of gaseous hydrocarbons and other components of gaseous streams allowing users to better comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas regulation provided the impetus for development of a proposed new ASTM International standard meeting this need.

WK33788, Test Method for Determination of Hydrocarbons and Nonhydrocarbon Gases in Gaseous Mixtures by Gas Chromatography, is under development by Subcommittee D03.07 on Analysis of Chemical Composition of Gaseous Fuels, part of ASTM International Committee D03 on Gaseous Fuels.

According to Shannon Canfield, marketing chemist, Wasson-ECE Instrumentation, and chairman of D03.07, WK33788 merges and enhances two ASTM standards with updated technology: D1945, Test Method for Analysis of Natural Gas by Gas Chromatography, and D1946, Practice for Analysis of Reformed Gas by Gas Chromatography.

“D1945 and D1946 will remain on the books as the natural gas industry uses them just as they are written,” says Canfield. However, Canfield notes that many users perform gaseous fuel hydrocarbon analyses using hardware and technology such as capillary columns and various detectors that are not included in D1945 and D1946.

“In order to comply with what is being used in the industry and to provide regulators with a more accurate method to point to, we decided to develop WK33788,” says Canfield.

WK33788 will cover the analysis of parts per million to percent level inert gases such as hydrogen, oxygen, argon, nitrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide along with low ppm level hydrocarbons such as methane, ethane and propane in various gaseous streams. The new standard is intended to be performance based. The methodology described in the proposed standard enables separation of low molecular weight hydrocarbons and inert gases for a detailed analysis of the composition of gaseous streams.

Refineries and chemical plants, along with contract laboratories and regulatory agencies, will be the primary users of WK33788.

All parties interested in aiding the development of gaseous fuels standards are encouraged to join Committee D03.

CONTACT Technical Information: Shannon Canfield, Wasson-ECE Instrumentation • Fort Collins, Colo. • Phone: 970-221-9179 O ASTM Staff: Alyson Fick • Phone: 610-832-9710 O Upcoming Meeting: Dec. 5-7 • New Orleans, La. • In conjunction with D02 December meeting

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.