Forensic services


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.

Latest news

Rapid Analysis of Drugs and Explosives

Government agencies across the globe are continuously evaluating security equipment used for Drugs and Explosives detection applications, which is a very expensive and time-consuming process. So we were very pleased to see in a recent paper by Tam et al that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has advocated the use of the Mass Spec Analytical ‘Scentinel’ system to massively reduce the time required to obtain results.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more