Real-time monitoring of volatile compounds and gases in the fermentation liquid

Image of the system on pipe: Mass spectrometry data obtained directly from industrial processes such as biogas fermentation. The Spectro Inlets system enables direct coupling of a mass spectrometer to any liquid via the patented membrane microchip inlet technology. In this image, the system is coupled to a biogas pipeline.

Unlike traditional analysis techniques, The Spectro Biogas solution provides real-time insight into the chemistry in the liquid present in the fermentation tank. There is no need to wait for GCMS or LCMS results or the equalization with the reactor overhead space. Changes in the reactor chemistry can be detected in seconds and immediate actions can be taken to change organic loading or to avoid foaming or acidification that can potentially lead to shutdown of biomethane production.

Wide range of detectable compounds – simple addition of new compounds of interest

Any kind of dissolved gas and compounds with vapor pressure can be detected and monitored. These include among others H2, CH4, NH3, N2, O2, H2S, N2O, NO2, EthOH, and light VFA’s (e.g. formic acid). Quantitative analysis from ppm levels to 100% analyte concentration. Once the system is set up, detection of additional compounds can be done without change of hardware in minutes.

Self-cleaning detector withstands the harsh environment of fermentation tanks

The wetted components are surface treated and made of chemically resistant materials such as stainless steel 316 and SiO2, meaning that they can withstand the harsh chemical environment of the fermentation liquid. Robustness tests have so far shown no biofilm growths (>3 weeks immersion in biomass liquid). Furthermore, the inlet system is self-cleaning, meaning that in case of any dry material being stuck to the surface can be removed by bubbling gas through the inlet system without stopping the reactor or the flow in the pipe it is attached to.

Data immediately available and can be integrated into SRO systems

Live data recorded with the Spectro Inlets EC-MS system coupled directly to a biogas fermentation tank pipeline. Industrial processes as biogas production need direct integration of real time sensor data in their plant management systems. The Spectro Inlets system enables digitalization of live mass spectrometry data with high time resolution and high sensitivity from all volatile gas species in solution.

Data from the system can be reached and used through multiple channels: data can be uploaded to a secure database for cloud storage, with access through a standard web browser or an API. The system can also provide data through MODBUS protocol for easy integration into existing industrial control (ICS) systems and easy communication with PLCs. Furthermore, custom communication protocols can be integrated on request to facilitate easy integration.

Easy integration and low maintenance

The system is designed to be attached to standard DIN flanges directly on pipes or the bioreactor (DIN 80 or larger). Working pressures up to 4 bars and temperatures up to 80°C (higher application temperature is possible on request) are possible making the system compatible with a variety of processes. Routine maintenance is expected once in every 2 years and can be made in the field creating high uptime and continuous data stream.