Nitrogen-containing fuels produce hydrogen cyanide when the fuel is gasified. The gas is poisonous and produces nitrogen oxides when it is burned. HCN is usually sampled into alkaline solutions and analysed using an ion selective electrode. The method is tedious and the electrode response is temperature-dependent. Samples are not stable and must be analysed immediately, and they contain ions which are poisonous to the electrode. Therefore a new gas chromatographic method was developed. In this new method HCN is released from the alkaline solutions with sulphuric acid in a headspace sampler and analysed by a gas chromatograph connected to an atomic emission detector. Measurements on carbon emission line 193.1 nm gave the limit of detection 0.05 mg CN−/l in the solution. The calibration curve was linear to 1000 mg CN−/l and the correlation was 0.997. The relative standard deviation of the calibration was 1.7% at the concentration of 5 mg CN−/l and 1.0% at 25 mg CN−/l. The developed headspace method allows automated analysis and it needs less sample preparations than the ion selective electrode method. This paper also reports the effect of sample preparation and storage time on the stability of the samples.
- headspace gas chromatography
- gasification product gas