The Use of Activated Carbon as a Method to Quickly Detect the Presence of and Selectively Remove Drag Reducer Additive from Fuels, 03-9269

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Principal Investigator
J. Andrew Waynick

Inclusive Dates: 07/01/01 - 07/01/02

Background - Drag reducer additive (DRA) is a very large molecular weight (25,000,000 Daltons) polymer added to finished fuels by pipeline companies to increase the volumetric flow capacity of their pipelines during peak demand seasons. DRA has been shown to increase engine deposits and cause filter plugging problems, but is nonetheless used in pipeline gasoline and diesel fuel shipments. DRA is not used in jet fuel because of serious product quality problems that can occur. Nonetheless, contamination of pipelined jet fuel shipments does occur.

The objectives of this project were twofold: to develop data to demonstrate the ability of various activated carbons to selectively remove, via adsorption, DRA from gasoline and jet fuel; to develop data to determine the overall feasibility of the glossy, clumping behavior as the basis for a rapid qualitative method to determine the presence of DRA in fuels.

Approach - A set of up to forty-three carbons was evaluated for their ability to remove DRA from gasoline and jet fuel by contacting the carbon with fuel containing DRA. The DRA concentration before and after carbon contact was measured using the standard PPC/HPLC method. The behavior of the carbon during the contact with the fuel was observed. In this way, the effectiveness of each carbon to remove DRA from the fuels was measured, and the appearance of any carbon clumping was observed.

Accomplishments - The forty-three carbons were evaluated. Based on these promising results, several patents were filed or processed, one of which has already issued.

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