Feasibility Study: Styrene, Acrylonitrile and Methyl-ethyl-ketone (MEK) for Online Control on a Styrene Tower

water cooler bottles

Styrene acrylonitrile resin, known as SAN, is a copolymer plastic consisting of styrene and acrylonitrile. Due to its superior thermal resistance, it is widely used in place of polystyrene. By weight the relative composition is usually 70-80% styrene and 20-30% acrylonitrile. Mechanical properties and chemical resistance of SAN can be improved with a larger acrylonitrile content, but the compromise is a yellow tint to the normally transparent plastic. Product from this plastics family includes food containers, water bottles, kitchenware, computer products, packaging material, battery cases and plastic optical fibers. Styrene gives the plastic a nice glossy finish. Styrene revenue is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 9% from 2019 to 2025, according to the Global Newswire network. They report an increased demand in the manufacture of various products, using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), expanded polystyrene, and polystyrene as the contributing factors.

Getting the correct blend of copolymers to achieve the desired physical properties can be a challenging task for process engineers in the polymer industry. Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy is a convenient and cost-effective tool for monitoring reaction processes in situ to ensure that the correct chemical ratios, average molecular weight, and physical properties are within specifications.

When transparency is a concern, the process engineer has several options. If polystyrene’s mechanical properties are insufficient, the process engineer can tailor a specific formulation of styrene-acrylonitrile copolymers or SANs (Figures 1 and 2). These copolymers typically contain between 20–30% acrylonitrile. Due to the polar structure of acrylonitrile, SANs copolymers have better resistance to breakdown in hydrocarbon streams than polystyrene. SAN copolymers also have a higher softening point, rigidity, and impact strength, yet maintain their transparency.

Figure 1. Molecular Structure of SANs
 Figure 2 Molecular Structure of Styrene, Acrylonitrile, and MEK
Figure 2 Molecular Structure of Styrene, Acrylonitrile, and MEK

As the acrylonitrile content of the SAN copolymer is increased, there is an improvement in the toughness and chemical resistance. The trade-off is a greater difficulty in molding and potential yellowness of the resin. SANs copolymers are also used in polyols processing to strengthen other polymer types. Monitoring stream composition during processing allows manufacturers to maintain product quality.

By incorporating a near-infrared (NIR) spectrometer and in situ process probe, a process engineer can quickly identify when the mixture of component concentrations are out of specification. The NIR region of the electromagnetic spectrum measures the overtone and combination bands of the C-H, O-H, and N-H fundamentals absorption bands. These spectra are unique to the molecule thus permitting the process engineer to make real-time corrections and ensure that product quality is maintained. In the case of SANs, NIR spectroscopy can be used to monitor the concentration of Styrene, Acrylonitrile, and MEK molecules

Today the use of DG-NIR analyzers continues to improve the accuracy and speed of measurements for polymer feed concentrations that can be achieved with both Guided Wave analyzers; the NIR-O full spectrum NIR analyzer or the ClearView db photometer. By collecting these data, process engineers in the polymer plant can make informed decisions on process optimization to ensure product quality.  

The proof of concept study presented in this application note illustrates that Guided Wave process analyzers can detect changes in concentration as little as 0.1 %wt.

Petrochemical, Chemical and Polymer Market Trends

Petrochemical, Chemical and Polymer Market Trends 2019 to 2020

Shale gas has currently become more available in the global marketplace. As a result, petrochemical companies; especially the polyurethane and polymer manufacturers, are taking advantage of the more affordable shale gas feedstocks. These world-wide companies are investing to build or expand shale-gas projects in the USA due to the competitiveness of using shale gas. According to the American Chemistry Council in May 2019, over $204B of capital project investment are linked to shale gas and are ongoing in the USA.

Another key market trend is the growth of the global functional polymer industry. It is expected to expand significantly due to bio-based polymers. These polymers are derived from agricultural feedstock, such as potatoes and corn. This feedstock is lowering the dependency on petrochemical products like, polybutylene succinate (PBS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyethylene (PE), and polypropylene (PP).2

With the lower raw material costs, investments to create innovative and competitive products for the marketplace are increasing. This investment change in the marketplace has global companies increasing their budgets for building new plants, and expanding or improving their facilities to accommodate the increase in their production capacities.  

Petrochemical, Chemical and Polymer Industry Opportunities:

  • Energy Savings – The demand for lightweight materials are rising in automotive, medical, commercial and aerospace industries as well as 3D applications, due to the reduced costs of production and energy savings. The lighter weight the material, the less energy is used to make it, use it and ship it.
  • Sustainability/Carbon Capture- As the need for sustainability grows, so do emerging opportunities to create more sustainable products for further reduction of greenhouse emissions during production (i.e. solar panels, lightweight wind blades) as well as bio-degradable end products.
  • Innovative Technology –The push for smaller, faster and cheaper technology like circuit boards, nanotechnology, better touchscreens, longer battery-life and faster computing are driving the demand for higher performing plastics to accommodate all these industries.
  • IoT (Internet of Things) – In fact, BI Intelligence predicts that global manufacturers will invest $70 billion on IoT solutions in 2020, which is up from the $29 billion they spent in 2015. IoT solutions in the plant include having sensors placed on equipment in factories so that data can be collected about the performance of the machine and systems. This enables factory operators to see when a piece of machinery may need repair, and also provides insight on how to make the entire system work more efficiently. 

Using Online Spectroscopy Measurements in the Petrochemical, Chemical and Polymer Industries

With these marketplace growth areas, many customers in the petrochemical, chemical and polymer industries will benefit from using NIR spectroscopy in several keyways:

  • Better Reaction Times
  • Increased Product Quality/Yields
  • Improved Safety
  • Creation of New Products and New Formulas

Guided Wave can assist users in measuring various polyurethane compounds such as: Di-isocyanates, polyols, % water, and certain toxic by-products. Some relevant examples for these components include: %NCO, MDI, TDI, DEG, MEG, ETO, and phosgene.   

Have questions about a Petrochemical, Chemical or Polymer application? Contact the experts at Guided Wave, we’ve been providing solutions to this industry for over 35 years. 

Fast Reliable Measurements of Polyurethanes

polymer products raw materials

Polyurethane was first developed as a replacement for rubber at the beginning of World War II. Because it was a versatile substitute for scarce materials the applications for this new organic polymer increased rapidly. This trend remains evident today, as processing techniques continue to be developed, and new formulations and additives created, polyurethanes can be found in virtually everything we encounter. From apparel to appliances, marine to medical, polyurethanes are used to create cost-effective, comfortable, supportive and long-lasting industrial and consumer products.

polyurethanes adapt for challenging problems

The nature of the underlying chemistry allows polyurethanes to be adapted to solve many challenging problems. Consequently, production of all types of polyurethanes is greatly expanding worldwide with customers like INEOS, Evonik, BASF, Wanhua and Indorama. With this growth, measurement and control are more important than ever in meeting business production goals. Many aspects of polyurethane production can be measured using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy including the measurement of OH number of polyols. When considering final product measurements, polyurethanes can really be considered to be an amide or an ester of carbonic acid (carbamate). The use of remote spectroscopic measurement methods provides analyses in real-time and minimizes the need for performing laboratory measurements. These methods can be applied in reactor systems for control of important properties during the reaction and to determine the endpoint of the reaction thus adding to the value and cost savings. The application note, “Measurements in Polyurethanes” describes the potential uses of Guided Wave hardware and software tools for key measurements in polyurethane production using fiber optic-based NIR spectroscopy.

Types of Polyurethane:

  • Flexible polyurethane foam
  • Rigid polyurethane foam
  • Coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers (CASE)
  • Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)
  • Reaction Injection Molding (RIM)
  • Binders
  • Waterborne polyurethane dispersion (PUDs)

Custom, Certified, and Compatible – Probes and Flow Cells for EXTREME Environments

Where can you find spectroscopic probes or flow cells in custom designs, certified for strict engineering compliance, compatible with most analyzer manufacturers, and at a competitive price? With average delivery times of 6 weeks or less, Guided Wave’s rugged sample interfaces meet these challenges. Additionally, these probes and flow cells are designed specifically for operation in extreme environments and utilize carefully designed optics, that are among the highest optically efficient designs on the market. 

Probes and Flow Cells for Extreme Environments

Corrosive Material? Doesn’t Matter with this Custom Flow Cell

With a long history of designing custom probes and flow cells to meet specific or unique customer applications and challenges, the toughest (and most expensive) flow cell ever built by Guided Wave was recently released. The reason for the high price is that it is made from B2 Hastelloy®, a rare material used only for the most severe chemical processes. Hastelloy, a nickel alloy, is a more exotic and expensive material than stainless steel typically used for standard flow cell body construction. Hastelloy is usually the best alternative when dealing with an extremely corrosive process stream, and stainless steel is deemed unsuitable for the process.

Pyrophoric Fires a Concern? Extinguish your Worries 

For most customers, our innovative- first in the industry, built-in cleaning port is a welcomed feature of our flow cell. It allows the cell’s sapphire windows to be cleaned by simply removing a clean-out plug. This direct access to the windows without disconnecting process lines or fiber optic cables is convenient and makes maintenance easier and more cost effective. However, a recent customer came to us with a pyrophoric process. Their process cannot tolerate the possibility of the flow cell cleaning port being accidentally opened, exposing the stream to outside air. As a result, Guided Wave designed a new flow cell without the window to relieve safety concerns and to remove the “what ifs?”

Whether standard or custom designs, many Guided Wave probes can be optimized for the UV, Visible or NIR spectral regions or supplied with custom fiber diameters and connectors to match a variety of optical requirements. Guided Wave also supplies probes manufactured in compliance with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) or Canadian Registration Number (CRN) pressure vessel standards.

corrosive warning signs

CRN Certified Probes for Process Spectroscopy

As of October 2019, Guided Wave has submitted more than 3,500 different design configurations for our probes and flow cells for Canadian Registration Number (CRN) certification. A CRN is a number issued to the design of a pressure vessel or fitting by each province or territory of Canada. The CRN identifies that the design has been accepted and registered for safe installation and use. CRN certified probes and flow cells are engineered by Guided Wave to meet the strict safety and application requirements for the Canadian petrochemical, refining, and polymer markets. By coupling these probes with certified (CSA, ATEX, IECEX) process analyzers, Guided Wave can offer complete process monitoring solutions to Canadian customers. Guided Wave currently has CRN registered designs for Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. However, complete process monitoring solutions for all provinces can be implemented – contact us for more information. All CRN probe sales include hydrotest and x-ray test results.

I’m not using a Guided Wave analyzer; is the SST probe compatible with my Bruker analyzer?

Not using a Guided Wave analyzer, no problem. Our probe and flow cells are compatible with most analyzers on the market.

Large Variety of Compatible Probes and Flow Cells

Guided Wave offers a variety of probes, flow cells and fiber optic cables that meet the harsh demands of the process environment. Several have auxiliary features and are compatible with all Guided Wave analyzers as well as other fiber optic-based analyzers manufactured by different companies. Examples are; ABB, AIT Schneider Electric, Bruker and Yokogawa. At Guided Wave if we do not have a probe or flow cell that meets your precise needs, we will look at your application, judge its feasibility, and make recommendations on how to proceed. With over 30 years of probe design experience we are ready for the challenge! Please contact us with your sample interface questions or requirements.

Hastelloy B2 Characteristics:

  • Great resistance to stress corrosion cracking and pitting
  • Significant resistance to reducing conditions like hydrogen chloride, sulfuric, acetic and phosphoric acids
  • Resistance to hydrochloric acid at all concentrations and temperatures

Welcome Hans to the European Office – New Technical Manager

Please join us in welcoming Hans Buytaert as our new Technical Manager in the Guided Wave European office. Hans will be working alongside long-time Guided Wave Manager, André Van den Broeck. He will help service the existing customer base while generating new business for Guided Wave in the EMEA Region. Hans specializes in technical sales and applications for lab and process NIR analyzers, chemometrics and method development, technical training, validation, troubleshooting, and regulatory compliance. Hans lives in Schelle, south of Antwerp, Belgium with his wife and two teenagers. When not working he plays basketball and enjoys running. Hans commented, “Starting to work (again) for Guided Wave feels like coming home, as I worked in the mid 90’s for Guided Wave when they were part of UOP. It feels good to be back at this fantastic company.” Guided Wave feels the same – welcome back Hans!

UOP owned Guided Wave from 1992 to 1998. UOP, now UOP/Honeywell, purchased the company because they specified Guided Wave’s NIR process spectrometer to monitor the various crude reforming processes that go into making fuels. “Using NIR to monitor refining processes real-time via fiber optics was the leading-edge technology in the mid-90s.” reports Jim Low, Director of Sales and Support at Guided Wave.

The team at Guided Wave is accessible and responsive, offering insightful solutions to your applications questions, fair prices and knowledgeable service. ISO 9001 certified Guided Wave maintains global support and certified technical distributors worldwide. We are with you through the lifetime of the product.

Guided Wave provides total support that ensures your success over the lifetime of your system. We offer comprehensive support that covers Hardware, Software and Application development, as well as Education and Training. Our global organization has representatives in every major area of the world providing complete support for all our products. Please contact our support department for any questions.

Time to Upgrade Your M412 Analyzer? Key Points Your Proposal Needs to Include

Over 20 years ago Guided Wave debuted the Model 412 near-infrared (NIR) process analyzer (M412). In 2016, with advances in technology and our pioneering experience in the spectroscopic analysis industry, the M412 was replaced by NIR-O. NIR-O provides better performance, advanced operations, and improved ROI.

There are 2 Options for Adopting a NIR-O Spectrometer for Existing M412 Users:

Upgrade M412 to NIRO

1. Retrofit your M412 Enclosure with the New NIR-O Spectrometer

The NIR-O Spectrometer can be retrofitted into any existing M412 installation. Simply schedule downtime for the analyzer, remove the M412 spectrometer and related elements, and follow the retrofit installation guide. Within a few hours, your NIR-O will be up and running in your existing enclosure and properly communicating with your DCS. Contact (link to RFQ) a Guided Wave sales representative to receive a quote for this special Retrofit Upgrade.

2. Purchase a Fully Certified IECEX, ATEX, or CSA Certified NIR-O

The retrofit of the M412 enclosure may invalidate any hazardous environment certifications for the M412. The state-of-the-art NIR-O has model certification for both IECEX and ATEX. Additionally, a CSA field certified design is available. Contact a Guided Wave sales representative to receive a quote to upgrade to a certified NIR-O full spectrum analyzer.  

Cost Reducing Considerations for Upgrading to NIR-O

Compared to new system installations, substantial savings can be realized by either retrofitting the M412 or purchasing a complete NIR-O analyzer system. There are 5 top cost-saving justifications to include in your project proposal. These include the:

  1. Ability to reuse existing probes and fibers
  2. Transferability of current chemometric calibrations
  3. The NIR-O requires 90 Watts less power than the M412
  4. Omniview software provides enhanced support for modern security protocols
  5. Improved User Interface, embedded touchscreen, and FREE software training videos – reduce learning curve for users
  6. Convenient spare parts service plan – Wave Care
NIR-O Analyzer

Reuse Existing Probes and Fibers

Guided Wave designed the NIR-O to be optically matched with existing M412 fibers, flow cells, and insertion probes. As a result, Guided Wave can offer a more cost-effective upgrade path to existing users. Reusing the probes and fibers from the M412 allows the NIR-O upgrade to be dramatically less expensive.

Keep your Existing Chemometric Calibrations

The chemometric calibration models in use on the M412 can be efficiently updated by Guided Wave staff for use on the NIR-O analyzer system. A calibration update reduces the opportunity cost associated with modernizing your analyzer.

Improve Security via OmniView Software

The Class PA software utilized by the M412 has provided users with years of trouble-free operations. However, security concerns and best practices were completely different 20 years ago. By upgrading to the NIR-O analyzer and associated OmniView software, your IT staff can rest assured knowing that the key analyzer software meets today’s vigorous security protocols.

Library of Online Support Videos and Training Materials

As part of the product launch for the NIR-O, Guided Wave developed a wide range of support videos hosted on our YouTube channel. In addition, we have NIR-O qualified support engineers available to help with startup and other troubleshooting issues.

Spare Parts and the WaveCare Support Program

The NIR-O spectrometer was designed specifically to address the service issues associated with the M412’s input module and shutter assembly. These design improvements have resulted in a dramatic decrease in the amount of service work required, resulting in more uptime for the NIR-O analyzer.  Additionally, an optional WaveCare Support Program was launched in 2019 to provide users with improved lead time on spare parts and service calls to further ensure uptime.

Contact a Guided Wave sales representative to save money and time by either retrofitting your M412 or purchasing a new NIR-O analyzer system.

Rental Solutions for Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide Sterilization

Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide Monitor

Do you have an upcoming product release or need to verify a vacuum sterilization method?

The Guided Wave Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor Monitor (HPVM), is a simple turnkey solution for the measurement of hydrogen peroxide and water (H2O2  and H2O) concentrations in the vapor phase. Conveniently Guided Wave offers short term HPVM rental solutions which provide continuous, accurate data for documentation and validation requirements. The HPVM rental plan is a complete ready-to-go system and includes calibration certificate, 6-meter fiber optic cables, and a redesigned 50 cm pathlength G-SST probe. The analyzer operates in real-time, which takes the guesswork out of determining the H2O2 and H2O concentrations during cycle development and throughout the actual vacuum sterilization cycle. 

Why Rent an Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor Monitor?

Renting an Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor Monitor (HPVM) is an ideal solution for short term monitoring needs. When only using an instrument for internment periods of time, it doesn’t make financial sense to invest precious resources learning how to set-up and operate a new interim system. As a result, the quick installation and start-up, along with the ease of operation and control, make the HPV Monitor a smart choice for rental applications.

The HPVM  is calibrated at the factory and no programming or modification is required by the user. To start-up, simply power on the HPV monitor, connect the G-SST probe via the fiber optic cables, and collect a ZERO or background reading in the dehumidified sterilization isolator. Immediately following an inject of sterilant, accurate H2O2 and H2O concentration measurements may begin. This allows for easy operation and controlled monitoring during the sterilization process.

Why Use Spectroscopy to Monitor Sterilant Concentration?

Because the HPVM uses proven NIR spectroscopic technology for quantifying the concentration of vaporized hydrogen peroxide in the sterilization chamber, renters/users can be totally confident in the monitoring results. NIR Spectroscopy is the only real-time monitoring technology capable of operating inside of a vacuum chamber during the sterilization process. Electrochemical hydrogen peroxide sensors cannot handle the harsh vacuum conditions and elevated temperatures used in a modern sterilization process.  The HPV Monitor is not suitable to determine low (<100 ppm) concentrations, which are of occupational health and safety concerns.

HPV Response Curve
H2O2 Vapor Measurement Range0.1 - 50.0 mg/L, [71.2 – 35,600 ppm V/V]
H2O2 Measurement Accuracy ± 0.1 mg/L
H2O Vapor Measurement Range1.0 mg/L – to condensation, [>1345 ppm V/V]
H2O Measurement Accuracyx 1.0 mg/L (Relative to concentration at time of reference)
Response Time 1 second, minimum. User Settable
Ambient Temperature 10 – 45 °C10 – 45 °C
Optimal Ambient Temperature Stability< ±2 °C
Relative Humidity0 – 90% non-condensing

The Smart Choice for Reliable Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor Measurement

Guided Wave’s HPV Monitor delivers accurate, real-time H2O2 and H2O measurement results under vacuum conditions. Its long term stability and no maintenance requirements make it a cost-effective, smart choice to help optimize production and ensure product quality ultimately enhancing profitability. Quick and accurate determination of how much sterilant is actually in the vacuum chamber is achieved using the HPV Monitor.

An ISO 9001 certified company, Guided Wave maintains expert technical support and responsive global service for the lifetime of the HPV analyzer system.

Need a Long Term Sterilant Monitor?

Contact a Guided Wave Sales Representative to discuss purchasing the new Vaporization Hydrogen Peroxide Analyzer or the Vaporized Ethylene oxide (ETO) Analyzer. Based on the Clearview’s proven dual-beam photometer technology. the new HPV and ETO analyzers provide a cost effect monitor.

Decoding and Understanding IECEX and ATEX Markings

IECEX and ATEX are important safety certification for process analyzers being installed in hazardous environments. The NIR-O has a maximum protection rating of Zone 1, Group IIB+H2, T4. This protection rating is offered with either ATEX and IECEX certification.

What is the difference between Class 1 Div 1 Zone 1 and Class 1 Div 2 Zone 2 protection?

The major difference between Class 1 Div 1, Zone 1 and Class 1 Div 2, Zone 2 IECEX certification is in the assumption of risk. Div 1 or Zone 1 assumes that hazardous gases are always present in the environment. Div 2 or Zone 2 assumes that hazardous gases may be present in the environment, but are unlikely.

To achieve Div 1 or Zone 1 protection rating, a process analyzer must have a clean air purge system that keeps the enclosure under positive pressure. Additionally, if the pressure drops, an interlock must trigger which shuts off the analyzer and prevents the system from exposing the combustible gases to an electrical ignition source. The electronics cannot result until pressure is restored and for some amount of time. This is often referred to as an X-purge.

To achieve Div 2 Zone 2 protection rating, a process analyzer still requires a clean air purge. However, the airflow only must maintain positive pressure. If the pressure inside of the enclosure is lost the analyzer must alarm, but may remain powered on to collect data. This is often referred to as a Z-purge.

Understanding the ATEX Zone rating – the Petrol Station analogy

Zone 2 ATEX example
Class 1 Div 1 or Zone 1 – During refilling of the underground storage tank. When the truck arrives to refill the petrol station’s underground tank, it can be assumed that gas vapors are present.
Zone 1 - gasoline vapors maybe released when refilling your car
Class 1 Div 2 or Zone 2 – The pump. There may be gasoline or diesel vapor present if an automobile was recently filled.
inside of store is ATEX Zone 0
General Purpose – Inside of the petrol station. Considered a safe area where explosive gases are never present.

Explaining ATEX Group Markings

The gas and dust protections are defined by groups. A group III rating means that the enclosure is only rated to protect against dust infiltration. A group II rating means that the enclosure is protected against both dust and gas. The lowest gas protection is IIA the best gas protection rating is group IIC.

Group IIA – protection is adequate to prevent ignition of propane gas in the environment.

Group IIB – protection is adequate to prevent ignition of ethylene gas in the environment.

Group IIB+H2 – protection is adequate to prevent ignition of hydrogen gas in the environment.

Group IIC – protection is adequate to prevent ignition of acetylene gas in the environment.

ATEX and IECEX group markings have equivalent IP or Ingress Protection ratings. Guided Wave process analyzers all have NEMA 4 or IP 66 ratings enclosures as part of the protection design for hazardous and explosive environments.

What does the T marking mean in IECEX?

The T stands for the maximum external surface temperature that the analyzer must not exceed. This portion of the specification is to prevent the surface of the analyzer enclosure from igniting combustible molecules in the environment. For example, Ethyl Nitrate will explode if it comes into contact with a heat source or object above 90 ºC. Any analyzer that is going to be installed in an environment containing Ethyl Nitrate must be rated for T6 and never exceed a surface temperature above 85 ºC. The limit for T4 is that the outside of the analyzer will never be hotter than 135 ºC.  All Guided Wave analyzers have a T4 rating they are suitable for installation in petrochemical and refinery facilities

T RatingSurface Temperature Limit
T1 450 ºC
T2300 ºC
T3200 ºC
T4135 ºC
T5100 ºC
T685 ºC

Think Safety, Think Guided Wave Process Analyzers

Need an ATEX or IECEX certified inline process analyzer? have a question about using a spectrometer in a hazardous environment? Contact a Guided Wave Sales Representative to talk about your needs today.

Understanding the difference between PONA and PIONA

Near-infrared (NIR) technology can overcome the major problems associated with real-time inline monitoring of process hydrocarbon streams. In the case of the Naptha Steam cracker and other olefin units in the Refinery, PIONA (Paraffins, Isoparaffins, Olefins, Napthenes, Aromatics) are important properties. Naphtha feed streams can in principle be measured on-line by GC techniques, but the parameter measurements required for effective control include PIONA and %Distillation curve, which require long elution times and the added cost of a sample conditioning system.

PIONA (Paraffins, Isoparaffins, Olefins, Napthenes, Aromatics) - Petrochemical molecules measured by NIR spectroscopy
PIONA Petrochemcial (Hydrocarbon) molecules measured by NIR Spectroscopy.

PONA vs PIONA, what’s the difference?

PIONA is a more exact measurement standard. PIONA considers n-paraffins and isoparaffins to be different.  N-paraffins have long straight chains and provide higher cetane values for diesel fuels. The melting point of n-paraffins often occurs between 230-370°C, which results in a worsening of the cold flow properties (cold filter plugging point, pour point) of the diesel fuel. Isoparaffin molecules, such as iso-butane, contain branched side chains. As a result, isoparaffins increase the viscosity, lower pour point, and increase the octane of the fuel. The ratio of n-paraffins to iso-paraffins is an important parameter in some fuel blending operations.

Chemical structures in PONA PONA refinery process which can be measured by FT-NIR spectroscopy

The Total Paraffin content (PONA) is easier to measure with NIR Spectroscopy

For complicated petrochemical mixtures, near-infrared spectroscopy can have difficultly distinguishing the contribution of iso-paraffins and n-paraffins to the absorbance spectrum of the petrochemical product. As a result, PONA, which measures the total Paraffins, Olefins, Napthenes, Aromatics is more straight forward and accurate spectrometric prediction.

Interested in learning if near-infrared spectroscopy can be used in your refinery to measure PIONA? Contact a Guided Wave Sales Representative

The Refinery of the Future – Targeted Petrochemical Production

Oil and Energy Companies Stock Investments, Industry Future

According to the February 20, 2019 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, “The Future of oil is in Chemicals, Not Fuels”, Saudi Aramco, BP, and other major oil producers and refineries are forecasting a decrease in the demand for fuel. Their rationale for the decline is that the adoption of electric cars and improved fuel economy cars, will decrease demand for barrels of oil dedicated to transportation fuel.

In an effort to stay competitive some oil producers are evolving their refining processes to target the production of specific chemicals. For example, ExxonMobil has developed a system which allows crude oil instead of naphtha to be processed by a stream cracker.

By creating variations in existing locations or processes in the refinery, valuable chemicals can be selectively created, purified, and sold in bulk.

Adapting Existing Analyzer to Support Targeted Petrochemical Production

As refineries move to produce specific chemicals, they require analyzers that can adapt and accurately monitor the process. The NIR-O Full Spectrum NIR Analyzer along with Omniview software can be quickly reprogramed to predict parameters of interest for any number of potential petrochemical compounds.

The 12 channel (sample points) variant of the NIR-O allows for the different sample points to be configured for various applications. In contrast to other analyzer vendors, the expand-ability of sample points and chemometric calibrations makes the NIR-O a smart choice for refineries following the crude-to-chemical trend.

Combining our Experience with Refineries and Petrochemical Analyzers

Guided Wave has over 35 years of experience providing custom solutions for the refining and the petrochemical industry. A shortlist of proven applications can be found on our application overview webpage.

Not finding your application on the list? Chances are high we have done it before and just couldn’t talk about it. Contact one of our Sales Representatives or complete our Interactive Application Questionaire Webform and we would be happy to discuss the potential solutions to your process monitoring challenges.

Learn more about the role of NIR Spectroscopy in the Refining Industry!