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Fireside Chat – Shimadzu – Greenhouse Gas Analyzer – Ian Shaffer

Summary
Ian Shaffer, Senior Product Specialist at Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, and Dr. Andrew Jones at Activated Research Company discuss the development of Shimadzu’s Greenhouse Gas Analyzer that monitors gases contributing to global warming – and leverages ARC’s Jetanizer™ GC add-on.

Topics

1.[00:00]Introduction

2.[00:42]Shimadzu Greenhouse Gas Analyzer

3.[03:42]Performance & Jetanizer™ Impact

4.[06:05]Contributions

5.[08:13]Complications

5.[11:08]Feedback

6.[12:47]Last Act

Links

Shimadzu Website

Shimadzu Sales Rep Locator

Shimadzu Sales Submission Form

Introduction[00:00]

Hi everyone. Today, I’m joined by Ian Shaffer, a Senior Product Specialist at Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, a leading analytical solution provider. Ian, I’m glad to have you on the show.

Thank you for having me.

Let’s talk about your work developing Greenhouse Gas Analyzers – which is near and dear to my heart – with specific reference to two application notes you wrote. Give us a little background on what a Greenhouse Gas Analyzer is and why we need them?

Rapid Greenhouse Gas Analysis via the Nexis GC-2030 Gas Chromatograph

Rapid Greenhouse and Inorganic Gas Analysis via the GC-2030

Shimadzu Greenhouse Gas Analyzer[00:42]

A Greenhouse Gas Analyzer does exactly what it sounds like – it monitors greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are really anything that contributes to trapping infrared light which can help cause global warming.

Why do people need to monitor it?

The environmental impacts as well as the industrial measurements are both very important, and we can see there’s particular interest for greenhouse gas analysis in markets such as Petrochem or Industrial where you’re monitoring stack gases trying to identify new bacteria or other things that are contributing to global warming. We’re seeing this in a broad range of applications targeting gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and a few others that are being monitored.

In terms of this work, and these application notes, can you give us a high-level overview of what Shimadzu did?

One of the major things we considered when developing a Greenhouse Gas Analyzer was, we wanted a product that was fast, flexible, and would give you the broadest range of applicable components. We heard from both academic and government agency environmental monitoring groups that they needed fast throughput and adaptability to new technologies – all rolled into one unique solution.

This is pretty new – when did the product come out?

It’s still very new. It was released in 2020, and in 2021 we were amid COVID. It was difficult to promote during that time, but it’s gained a lot of traction since its release.

Well, it’s obviously super important and the timing is perfect. We’re seeing a lot of news articles on climate change and the need to mitigate the causes – and, of course, we can’t improve what we can’t measure. So how did the analyzer perform when you did the study? How does the device perform in terms of quantifying those molecules, and how does it compare to other products out there?

Performance & Jetanizer Impact[03:42]

Shimadzu has a history of developing analyzers specifically for greenhouse gases. Our early approaches used a variety of packed columns to create the separation we needed to ensure different analytes behaved properly. Using newer technologies – we’ve been able to make major improvements to our approaches and designs. We switched to capillary columns which speeds up the analysis and allows us to access analytes that were not analysis friendly. Another change was adding ARC’s Jetanizer™. It has enabled a simpler setup and significantly changed our results. In a traditional methanizer setup, certain compounds, like oxygen, simply destroy the methanizer – so you end up adding special valving and/or additional columns trying to avoid the problem. With the Jetanizer™, we basically have a direct path from the capillary column right into the FID. We’re able to see CO, CH4, and CO2 all within four minutes and can go out to the C2s within that same timeframe. We still must worry about oxygen hitting the Electron Capture Detector (ECD), so we do have a valve there, but the goal was to have a single injection split the two columns. We’ve seen excellent performance with the Jetanizer™.

I was very impressed with the data. You had R2 correlation coefficient values of five nines, and your relative standard deviations (RSDs) were incredibly good. Can you comment on that? Was that a surprise, and what contributes to your amazing performance?

Contributions[06:05]

I think the biggest contributions are the advances in technology. I’ve used the Jetanizer™ in multiple applications and really put it through its paces – and it performs great for this kind of application. We don’t really have oxygen as an interferent – which is huge – because when you’re doing this kind of analysis, if you’re not cutting oxygen away, you start losing performance. I was almost surprised to see such a strong performance – especially when you’re running an isothermal fast analysis like we are.

I hadn’t realized it was isothermal – I missed that detail. So, you’re not actually doing a gradient, you could pretty much go right from one run to another at the four-minute point.

Exactly. We were also aiming for flexibility and expandability, so we only show out to C2s. Since this is a straight column to detector application, we can extend that out to other analytes whether they’re volatile halogenates on the ECD or additional hydrocarbons on the FID side. We really want to build in the flexibility to support that.

I love this innovation because it’s forward thinking. It’s tackling a problem that is so existential for us right now. Very cool work. I was looking at the valving and column diagram. Were there any complications that arose while you were developing this – or – is there anything users need to be aware of?

Complications[08:13]

When you’re dealing with capillary column systems where you’re using valving, restriction is key, so balancing in that restriction took a little bit of finesse. Once you have that dialed in, it works very well. That’s the biggest thing. When you have interdependence between your two columns, you must make sure it’s consistent and that you’re retaining your peak shape.

I’ve spent some time valving and getting spikes in my response. The data you showed looks fantastic, so nice work. If we look out a way, what will this mean for the future of greenhouse gas measurements?

What we’re hoping to do with our analyzer is to provide the speed needed so users can get faster results. Better data lets us react sooner to new greenhouse gases with better applications.

Of course. Naturally, your analyzer is sitting on a nice Shimadzu chassis with detectors and columns – and users can purchase everything directly from you. How are your customers reacting to the device?

The feedback has been very positive. Throughput speed has been a great attraction, but so has simplicity. When I look at my design process, one of the things I look for is “if I was a customer” would I feel comfortable using this product? If I see something that has 2 columns in it versus something that has 20 columns – it feels a lot more approachable, like something you’re not going to be overwhelmed by. Overall, the response has been positive. The performance is wonderful. I’m excited to see where this goes.

That’s great to hear. There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing that our products work well together. Thank you for using the Jetanizer™ and creating a cool application out of this. Have I missed anything you’d like to touch on?

Feedback[11:08]

I do want to mention that Exetainer® vials are frequently used on this system. These are pre-evacuated vials that eliminate most of the atmosphere. We have some flexibility with our AOC-6000 system which uses the same methods. I’d also like to say that the Greenhouse Gas Analyzer can be extended into other markets – say ammonia analysis or ammonia production. We’re also seeing it in general use as a CO2 conversion reactor. The Jetanizer™ is linear up to about 100% CO2 down to low PPM. The system can be extended in numerous directions and will still work great.

When you talk about those vials – are those the large metal evacuated vials they do air sampling with the PAMS kind of application?

No. I believe they’re 12 mil – they almost look like test tubes that have a good septum.

Last Act[12:47]

Interesting. This was a lot of fun Ian. Thank you for your time and hard work creating these tools that are helping us fight climate change. If you want to learn more, reach out to Activated Research Company or Shimadzu Scientific Instruments.

You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.

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