Industry News: Shimadzu signs collaboration agreements to develop an 'Oxygenated compound analysis system' for biofuel research

This system aims to combine Shimadzu gas chromatography with the patented technology jointly owned by TOTAL, UPPA, and UO

19 Jan 2021


Shimadzu has signed comprehensive collaboration agreements in the clean energy field with TOTAL SE, University of Pau (UPPA) in France, and University of Oviedo (UO) in Spain. The four parties aim to develop an "Oxygenated compound analysis system" within two years to research biofuels. This system is a breakthrough analyzer combining Shimadzu gas chromatography with the patented technology jointly owned by TOTAL, UPPA, and UO.

To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, we must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by using biofuels and bioethanol for more carbon-neutral transportation, as biofuels emit less than half the CO2 of fossil fuels over their lifecycle. Biofuels generally contain oxygenated compounds, such as organic acids, aldehydes, and phenols, that cause the fuel's transformation. It would not be difficult to remove them if the compounds could be identified. However, since bio-derived biofuels contain many unknowns oxygenates, it is technically challenging to identify them efficiently, and an industry-standard analytical method has not been established yet.

TOTAL, UPPA, and UO have patented a breakthrough technology, "The compounds separated by a gas chromatograph are decomposed to the elemental level, and the oxidation catalytic reaction is promoted to be detected using a mass spectrometer (MS).".With this patented technology, the identification process of oxygenated compounds in biofuels can be reduced to several tens of minutes from hours. The traditional method is "Examine and select hundreds of chromatogram peaks one at a time (the MS spectrum pattern indicating the presence of a compound)." Besides, analysis results can be obtained regardless of the user's skill level. The "Oxygenated compound analysis system" developed by Shimadzu, TOTAL, UPPA, and UO will improve research, development, and manufacturing processes to expand biofuels' utility.

“This innovation is the result of the collaboration between TOTAL R&D and the Universities of Pau and Oviedo and is perfectly in line with TOTAL's climate ambition to get Net Zero by 2050 together with society. The transformation of biomass into products requires a precise measurement during industrial processes, we are happy to work with Shimadzu to accelerate this innovation to meet industry neutrality targets.” Said Marie-Noëlle Semeria, CTO Senior Vice President, Group R&D of TOTAL

 “It has been 50 years since Shimadzu began to produce gas chromatograph mass spectrometers domestically in Japan in cooperation with European manufacturers. During this time, we have developed many unique products through various innovations. We are very honored to be able to work again with renowned European universities and companies to develop technologies that contribute to the environment.”Said Shuzo Maruyama, General Manager, Analytical & Measuring Instruments Division, Shimadzu Corporation.

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