Trace Elements in Diesel Fuels

Application Brief

Analysis of Trace Elements in Diesel Fuels by ICP-OES Using Dual Side-On Plasma Observation

Diesel fuel is a mix of hydrocarbons, kerosene and different middle distillation fractions with a boiling point between 150 and 390 °C. Diesel engines use the heat of compression for ignition of the fuel. The greatest advantage is the considerably higher fuel efficiency due to much higher compression compared to gasoline engines. This gave rise to an increased demand in recent years. The major disadvantages, however, are the higher amount of nitrous oxide gases as well as fine dust in the exhaust. In order to fulfil exhaust emission standards, extensive exhaust gas cleaning is required.

Particularly phosphorous and the alkali elements sodium and potassium as well as the earth alkali elements, magnesium and calcium, to a lesser extent, can negatively affect the catalyzers within the exhaust gas treatment system. In addition, sodium, zinc and copper can yield carbonization at the fuel injection system as well as deposits in the combustion chamber, while metals in general are responsible for the formation of ash, which may potentially block the particle filter. Control of the trace metals is important for this reason. Additionally, the determination of Cl and S has become a frequent task for ICP-OES in the context of environmental monitoring.

This report describes the analysis for trace elements in diesel fuel in accordance with EN 16476.