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CEN/TS 13649 is a European method that specifies a protocol for monitoring VOCs from stationary sources, and which has now been updated to accommodate TD-based methodology.

The history of CEN/TS 13649

In 2001, the European technical committee for air quality (CEN/TC 264) defined a procedure for monitoring VOCs from stationary sources, such as stack gases. This involved the collection of airborne vapours onto glass tubes packed with activated carbon, followed by extraction of analytes with carbon disulfide (CS2) and analysis by GC–MS.

However, in response to the growing popularity of thermal desorption, in 2014 the committee released a revised version of the method that also offers the option of using pumped sampling onto sorbent-packed thermal desorption tubes, followed by TD–GC–MS analysis.

What are the benefits of thermal desorption?

A number of factors make thermal desorption an appealing alternative to solvent extraction, the most important of which are:

  • The need for expensive ultra-pure CS2 is eliminated, along with disposal costs and safety issues.
  • The reproducibility of repeat runs is much greater with TD than with solvent extraction.
  • TD is much more easily automated than solvent extraction, saving analyst time.
  • Two-stage TD offers much greater sensitivity than solvent extraction, which suffers from a dilution effect.

Complying with CEN/TS 13649

The option to use thermal desorption methods to achieve compliance with CEN/TS 13649 has brought the method into line with other standard methods for VOC analysis, and allowed analysts to improve performance and efficiency.

Markes’ automated TD systems offer excellent results for CEN/TS 13649, with an added feature being the ability to carry out sample splitting and re-collection for repeat analysis in an automated fashion.

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