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Odorant measurement with SPECTRA system

Odorant measurement with SPECTRA system
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More great satisfaction for SPECTRA solution: we got the first experimental award!

We introduced here the SPECTRA solution developed by AUTOMA for odorant measurement in natural gas, as it was featured in the journal Applied Spectroscopy with the scientific article “Odorant Monitoring in Natural Gas Pipelines Using Ultraviolet-Visible Spectroscopy“.

The successes collected by SPECTRA, studied for the measurement of odorant in natural gas and based on UV-Visible absorption spectroscopy, did not stop there! In fact, strengthened by the positive results obtained in the field since 2014 and by the approval obtained at international level with the publication on Applied Spectroscopy, AUTOMA aimed to obtain the official validation of the system and of the measurement method by an accredited body also in Italy, with excellent results. AUTOMA has subjected the SPECTRA to an interlaboratory test organized by Unichim, a body federated to UNI and accredited by Accredia for the execution of tests recognized by appropriate operating protocols (Proficiency Testing – PT).

Interlaboratory test at Unichim GAS-GASQ8

An interlaboratory test allows participants to compare their own performance with that of others by measuring themselves on the same type of sample. This type of test allows to get feedback on the reliability of their own performance and to assess whether it meets the standards imposed by the regulations.

The interlaboratory test “Natural gas: composition and odorantsGAS-GASQ8 in which AUTOMA took part, took place in the second half of 2020. It aimed to give each of the participating laboratories the opportunity to evaluate their performance and objectively demonstrate the accuracy of the measurement methods used and the measurement itself.

Each laboratory was provided with a natural gas simulant mixture consisting of:

  • C2 – C6 hydrocarbons;
  • Hydrogen;
  • Nitrogen;
  • Carbon dioxide;
  • Terbuthylmercaptan (TBM);
  • Tetrahydrothiophene (THT) in methane.

The concentration of all components was unknown to laboratories.

Each laboratory had to measure the concentration of the substances of interest and report it to Unichim. When all the laboratories presented their results, the manufacturer of the test mixture announced the production concentrations. Afterwards, the performance of each laboratory was evaluated according to the:

  • Deviation of the measurements obtained from the concentrations certified by the manufacturer;
  • Uncertainties allowed by the reference standards.
The first official experimental recognition for the SPECTRA solution

Out of the 12 participating laboratories, 1 did not declare the measuring technique used, 10 of them used gas chromatography and, finally, AUTOMA used the SPECTRA solution.

The measurements obtained by SPECTRA complied with the reference standards for both odorants, THT and TBM. In particular, the THT measurement was one of the most accurate of the 12 participating laboratories.

In conclusion, this represents the first official experimental recognition of the validity of SPECTRA measuring system. Together with the scientific validation arrived with the publication on Applied Spectroscopy, it joins many other successes that over the years have rewarded the continuous research of AUTOMA. This is certainly not a point of arrival, but another step in the growth path of the company. A path of growth that AUTOMA has undertaken since the early years of life and that it has proposed to follow in a constant way to offer always updated solutions to its customers.


Christian Contini

Research and Development


Barbara Diaz

Marketing Manager

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