Real-time chemical component analysis for monitoring and optimising process performance

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Industrial plant (c) iStockphoto
Industrial plant (c) iStockphoto

University: University of Edinburgh

Sector(s): Engineering & Manufacturing, Chemical, Electronics, Sensors & Photonics, Energy & Renewables, Other

About Opportunity:

An innovative technique that enables continuous, real-time, in-situ component analysis and concentration measurements using proprietary software in combination with physical property sensors. This technique has applications in industrial carbon capture, gas desulphurisation, and gas sweetening process monitoring and optimisation.

The Challenge

Understanding chemical composition is critical to carbon capture plant operators, as well as in industries such as gas desulphurization and natural gas sweetening. This knowledge is used for monitoring and optimising performance. However, current techniques to obtain chemical compositions can be slow, limited to off-line application, require prior knowledge of chemical constituents that can degrade over time, are labour intensive requiring specialist staff, and require regular re-calibration.


This Edinburgh technology is based on an algorithm that allows rapid analysis of chemical composition inferred from physical property measurements. The software operates in conjunction with a conditioning system, and density and viscosity sensors. Rapid analysis of in situ samples delivers real-time online results. The technique requires no proprietary component details – only simple, non-identifying physical characteristics. Furthermore, the performance of the system is maintained as active components degrade over time, reducing the need to undertake regular re-calibration.

Exemplification Data

The technology has been successfully demonstrated at a variety of industrial carbon capture facilities. Proof of concept studies involve analysis of amine sequestration species and CO2 concentration. Under these real-life industrial conditions, the system has been shown to operate safely and continuously for extended periods, and provide accurate measurements, including for aged, degraded and non-ideal commercial solvents.

Development Status: Pilot scale development

Key Benefits:

  • Real-time analysis for process monitoring and plant performance optimisation
  • Accurate readings under varied conditions without labour intensive recalibration
  • Client’s intellectual property not jeopardised
  • Quick and easy deployment


  • Carbon capture
  • Gas desulphurisation
  • Gas sweetening

IP Status:

Software and instrumentation design specifications

Publication: Tait, P. et al. (2016) A pilot-scale study of dynamic response scenarios for the flexible operation of post-combustion CO2 capture, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 48, 216-233

The University of Edinburgh is seeking industry partners to license this technology and/or collaborate on further research development of the technology for commercial use.


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