Qualitative and quantitative analysis of pyrolysis oil by gas chromatography with flame ionization detection and comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry
Pyrolysis oils have attracted a lot of interest, as they are liquid energy carriers and general sources of chemicals. In this work, gas chromatography with flame ionization detector (GC-FID) and two-dimensional gas chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC × GC–TOFMS) techniques were used to provide both qualitative and quantitative results of the analysis of three different pyrolysis oils. The chromatographic methods and parameters were optimized and solvent choice and separation restrictions are discussed. Pyrolysis oil samples were diluted in suitable organic solvent and were analyzed by GC × GC–TOFMS. An average of 300 compounds were detected and identified in all three samples using the ChromaToF (Leco) software. The deconvoluted spectra were compared with the NIST software library for correct matching. Group type classification was performed by use of the ChromaToF software. The quantification of 11 selected compounds was performed by means of a multiple-point external calibration curve. Afterwards, the pyrolysis oils were extracted with water, and the aqueous phase was analyzed both by GC-FID and, after proper change of solvent, by GC × GC–TOFMS. As previously, the selected compounds were quantified by both techniques, by means of multiple point external calibration curves. The parameters of the calibration curves were calculated by weighted linear regression analysis. The limit of detection, limit of quantitation and linearity range for each standard compound with each method are presented. The potency of GC × GC–TOFMS for an efficient mapping of the pyrolysis oil is undisputable, and the possibility of using it for quantification as well has been demonstrated. On the other hand, the GC-FID analysis provides reliable results that allow for a rapid screening of the pyrolysis oil. To the best of our knowledge, very few papers have been reported with quantification attempts on pyrolysis oil samples using GC × GC–TOFMS most of which make use of the internal standard method. This work provides the ground for further analysis of pyrolysis oils of diverse sources for a rational design of both their production and utilization process.