Direct Analysis of Automotive Fuels for Bioethanol Content Using Radiocarbon Analysis
CitationNorton, G. A. (2009). Direct analysis of automotive fuels for bioethanol content using radiocarbon analysis. Radiocarbon, 51(3), 995-1003.
AbstractExploratory work was performed to investigate the feasibility of using a simplified radiometric analytical approach for determining the bioethanol content of US automotive fuels. The method involves mixing fuel samples directly with a suitable fluor. Sample preparation is extremely rapid since all conventional sample preparation steps are essentially eliminated. Results are based on the background-corrected DPM values obtained when using 10 mL of sample mixed with 10 mL of Permafluor E+. Results are also reported in terms of conventional pMC for some of the samples. Bioethanol from a dry-mill ethanol plant served as the analytical reference sample that represented a 100% bioethanol content. Using current-day bioethanol as a reference sample eliminates the need to correct for "bomb carbon." For 1:1 mixtures of sample and fluor, the background-corrected DPM showed a linear relationship with the bioethanol concentration, indicating that the quench correction approach was effective for the variable-quench samples. Based on the analysis of E0 (pure gasoline), E10, and "E85" from local gas stations, it appears that the method has good potential for determining the bioethanol content in commercial ethanol/gasoline blends. However, a variety of potential sources of error still require investigation in order to refine the method.