We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data. We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.


Element Selective Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer – “ELEM-SPOT” Launched

Gas chromatographer.
Credit: iStock.
Listen with
Register for free to listen to this article
Thank you. Listen to this article using the player above.

Want to listen to this article for FREE?

Complete the form below to unlock access to ALL audio articles.

Read time: 3 minutes

Shimadzu Corporation announces the launch of ELEM-SPOT, an element selective gas chromatograph mass spectrometer. It is the first product in the world that can selectively detect oxygen- and nitrogen-containing compounds that affect the quality of biofuels from a large number of ingredients contained in raw materials. This product was developed in collaboration with global energy Company TotalEnergies, University of Pau et Pays de l’Adour (UPPA) in France, and University of Oviedo (UO) in Spain. The system can for example detect compounds in biofuel feedstocks that cause deterioration in production efficiency and quality. Users can easily screen for the presence of these compounds, quantify them, and validate or not the result of the removal process. This will contribute to the transition from fossil fuels to biofuels by establishing analytical methods for biofuels.


In recent years, research and development has progressed on new energy sources aimed at achieving carbon neutrality (net zero greenhouse gas emissions). Research and development on "second-generation biofuels" using non-edible parts such as sugarcane peels, stalks, algae, and waste plastics, rather than "first-generation biofuels" using edible parts such as sugarcane and corn, are particularly active. These bio-derived and recycled raw materials contain many unknown compounds that are different from fossil fuels. Therefore, it was difficult to detect only oxygen and nitrogen among many unknown compounds, even though oxygen and nitrogen lead to deterioration of biofuel production efficiency and deterioration of biofuel quality. Another challenge was the lack of an efficient evaluation and analysis method for bio-derived and recycled raw materials.

Want more breaking news?

Subscribe to Technology Networks’ daily newsletter, delivering breaking science news straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe for FREE
ELEM-SPOT consists of a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GC-MS) and a combustion catalyst reactor. After compounds contained in bio-derived raw materials and recycled raw materials are separated by GC, target compounds are on-line oxidized and decomposed in a combustion catalyst reactor, then the C, H, N and O present in each compound are selectively detected by MS. Users will use this critical information to detect and remove oxygen and nitrogen that adversely affect the catalysts used in the refining process, therefore preventing plant shutdown due to catalyst replacement. Biofuel quality and future specifications can also be monitored with this detector. With this product, the identification process of oxygenated compounds in biofuels can be reduced by more than 80%. The traditional method is "Examine and select hundreds of chromatogram peaks(the MS spectrum pattern indicating the presence of a compound) one at a time."


Since 2021, Shimadzu, TotalEnergies, UPPA, and UO have been conducting comprehensive joint research in the field of clean energy. This product was made possible by the breakthrough technology of TotalEnergies, UPPA, and UO, "the compounds separated by a gas chromatograph are decomposed to the elemental level, and the oxidation catalytic reaction is promoted to be detected using a MS", and Shimadzu's high-performance GC-MS technology. Shimadzu will continue to work to improve the usability of this product.


World's first selective detection of only oxygen- and nitrogen-containing compounds

The oxygen- and nitrogen-containing compounds contained in bio-derived raw materials adversely affect the catalysts used in the refining process. Therefore, the demand to detect them is increasing. However, it was difficult to distinguish oxygen- and nitrogen-containing compounds from all compounds of bio-derived raw materials. This product uses isotopic oxygen to oxidize and decompose the compounds eluting from the GC column, and then uses a data analysis tool dedicated to this product to accurately identify oxygenated compounds. Correct monitoring and processing of oxygen- and nitrogen-containing compounds reduces catalyst quality degradation and eliminates the need for frequent catalyst replacement. It is the first product in the world that can detect and quantify oxygen- and nitrogen-containing compounds.

Supports cutting-edge R&D

In new energy-related fields such as biofuels, highly sensitive methods for detecting trace compounds are required. This product can detect and quantify, without the need of specific standards, oxygen- and nitrogen-containing compounds with the highest sensitivity in the industry. By using this product, it is possible to analyze trace amounts of oxygen and nitrogen compounds contained in raw materials derived from woody biomass, algae, and waste plastics.

Inherits the high basic performance of our products

This product inherits the high basic performance and excellent usability of our flagship GC-MS "GCMS-QP2020 NX". This product can be used not only for the specific detection of oxygen- and nitrogen- containing compounds using  combustion catalyst reactor, but also for general GCMS analysis. These modes can be easily and quickly set from "LabSolutions GCMS" software. This product utilizes high-performance GC-MS technology that Shimadzu has cultivated over many years.