Oil hydrocarbon fingerprinting – University of Copenhagen

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Plant and Environmental Sciences > Research > Environmental Chemistry and Physics > Analytical Chemistry > Oil hydrocarbon finger...

Oil hydrocarbon fingerprinting

Tiered approaches for oil spill fingerprinting have evolved rapidly since the 1990s and rely on chemometric data processing. Chemometrics provides a large number of tools for pattern recognition, calibration, and classification that can increase the speed and the objectivity of the analysis and allow for more extensive use of the available data in this field. However, although the chemometric literature is extensive, it does not focus on practical issues that are relevant to oil spill fingerprinting.

We have pioneered novel methods for multivariate oil hydrocarbon fingerprinting using one-dimensional chromatography with mass spectrometry detection, and excitation-emission fluorescence spectroscopy combined with multivariate statistical modelling. We are currently developing new and more comprehensive oil hydrocarbon fingerprinting strategies based on multidimensional chromatography data and apply these methods for environmental oil spill fingerprinting, oil-source correlation, and to understand industrial processes (effects of different catalyst on oil composition).

We also apply the fingerprinting techniques to assess the effects of bioremediation strategies, natural attenuation, and to distinguish the effects from different weathering processes. We work on a range of projects together with international collaborators from Brazil, Iran, Canada, Germany, and The Netherlands. Specifically, we work a lot in the arctic region to determine the potential for microbial degradation of crude oil in the marine environment of Greenland in case of a future oil spill related to drilling or transport activities in the area.