Determination of trace-level chlorine in the presence of sulphur in crude oil

Jon Lawson

PANalytical announces a new dedicated solution for the analysis of very low chlorine concentrations in crude oils. Epsilon 3XLE, an XRF benchtop system, has now been equipped to meet the analytical challenges of the petrochemical industry.

Chlorine and sulphur are unwanted elements in crude oil and other petrochemical products. They can cause corrosion in the oil-processing and refinement installations and are harmful for the environment. XRF is widely used for the analysis of sulphur in oil. However, the simultaneous determination of very low chlorine concentrations poses an analytical challenge due to the proximity of both elements in the periodic table of elements. PANalytical’s Epsilon 3XLE energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometer is perfectly able to meet this challenge. 

The combination of a chromium-anode tube, excellent resolution and sensitivity of the silicon drift detector and the powerful software enables the system to process high sulphur count rates and at the same time resolve possible line overlaps between chlorine and sulphur.

Crude oil samples are simply poured into disposable cups for liquid samples before being measured by the compact benchtop spectrometer.

“The lower limit of quantification for chlorine in the presence of percentage levels of sulphur is below 2 mg/kg (ppm), which makes the Epsilon 3XLE the perfect solution for this challenging task,” says Taco van der Maten, petro segment marketing manager. “Furthermore, the system caters for variable characteristics of crude oil composition thereby enabling a more robust and accurate determination of chlorine. The possibility to analyse all other relevant elements from Na to Am with similar outstanding accuracy and repeatability, makes it a valuable asset for a wide range of petrochemical applications”. 

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