As a result of increasing environmental concerns there have been numerous moves to replace conventional hydrocarbon fuels with equivalents obtained from renewable resources. This requirement is now the subject of legislation both within the UK and the EU. The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order (2007) requires “renewable fuels” to make up 5% of all road fuel supplied. This process is monitored by the Renewable Fuels Agency by a process of certification and “self-monitoring”. At present the most common “renewable fuel” is bio-ethanol. However, there are also industrial sources of this compound and the potential for fraud is vast.
MSA is the world’s first laboratory to be granted UKAS accreditation for the analysis of biofuels. The company has developed pioneering chemical techniques to differentiate between biofuels and fuels with synthetic or fossil origins, and has become the approved laboratory for the analysis of Formula 1 motor racing fuels for biofuel content.
The approach used is Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS), a technique used to distinguish between samples of chemically identical material based on the differences in the number of neutrons in the nuclei of the atoms making up a substance. The stable isotopic composition of ethanol can be indicative of its source e.g. biological or industrial.
Drug menace off the streets
A significant, longstanding figure within the drug dealing fraternity in Scotland has recently been found guilty by a majority verdict.
Mass Spec Analytical on the road
Over the past few months, MSA experts has been on the road providing training and educational talks to over 35 different law enforcement groups throughout the UK.
Case study spotlight
Drug Trafficking/Money Laundering Operation: Drugs on money
The Operation was a long running international drug smuggling operation resulting in the seizure of more than 12 tons of controlled drugs with an estimated street value in excess of £61 million.