Meeting European standards for total silicon in biogas: A novel and traceable GC-ICP-MS measurement technique

Lucy Culleton, NPL (GB)

The accurate measurement of total silicon within biogas and biomethane is of great significance to the biogas industry. Siloxane impurities found in biogas form abrasive silica deposits when combusted, causing damage to gas processing equipment and feedback errors in engine sensors. Due to the potential scale of the damage to infrastructure, accurate quality control measures are an important means to underpinning the growing European biogas economy.
CEN TC 408 is currently developing two European standards that specify the maximum amount of impurities that may be present in biomethane when injected into the natural gas network (prEN 16723-1), and used as a vehicle fuel (prEN 16723-2).
In order to meet the requirements of these standards, which are in the parts-per-billion amount faction range, new measurement methods have developed as part of the EMRP project “Metrology for biogas”.
The National Physical Laboratory has successfully developed traceable, high accuracy reference standards and methods to quantify the total silicon content of biogas in the parts-per-billion range. The total silicon measurement technique includes a novel GC-ICP-MS set-up that separates matrix interferences and allows for highly sensitive measurements of total silicon to be performed. This poster presents the method, along with results from its validation using traceable reference standards.

Pen Profile

Lucy Culleton is a Higher Research Scientist at NPL, specializing in the traceable composition measurement of energy gases such as natural gas, refinery gas and biogas.

She has undertaken over five years of research into the accurate measurement of siloxane impurities in biogas, with technique specialization in GC-MS/FID and GC-ICP-MS. She recently coordinated an EMPIR support for impact project that addressed the need for traceable online siloxane measurement in industrial biogas streams.

Lucy is presenting a poster on the measurement challenges involved with meeting the European specifications for total silicon in biomethane as part of the EMRP ‘Metrology for Biogas’ project.

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