Sampling of tar from sewage sludge gasification using solid phase adsorption

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2012 Jun;403(7):2039-46. doi: 10.1007/s00216-012-5996-5. Epub 2012 Apr 24.


Sewage sludge is a residue from wastewater treatment plants which is considered to be harmful to the environment and all living organisms. Gasification technology is a potential source of renewable energy that converts the sewage sludge into gases that can be used to generate energy or as raw material in chemical synthesis processes. But tar produced during gasification is one of the problems for the implementation of the gasification technology. Tar can condense on pipes and filters and may cause blockage and corrosion in the engines and turbines. Consequently, to minimize tar content in syngas, the ability to quantify tar levels in process streams is essential. The aim of this work was to develop an accurate tar sampling and analysis methodology using solid phase adsorption (SPA) in order to apply it to tar sampling from sewage sludge gasification gases. Four types of commercial SPA cartridges have been tested to determine the most suitable one for the sampling of individual tar compounds in such streams. Afterwards, the capacity, breakthrough volume and sample stability of the Supelclean™ ENVI-Carb/NH(2), which is identified as the most suitable, have been determined. Basically, no significant influences from water, H(2)S or NH(3) were detected. The cartridge was used in sampling real samples, and comparable results were obtained with the present and traditional methods.

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Gases / chemistry*
  • Sewage*
  • Solid Phase Extraction*


  • Gases
  • Sewage