Hydrogen, an alternative to helium ?

Press 10 December 2014

Hydrogen, an alternative to helium as a carrier gas for gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry

Summary :

Helium is a common inert gas generally obtained as a by-product of natural gas mining. However, because since 2012 the economic downturn has led to a decline in natural gas production, helium markets are facing a shortage in many European countries where several laboratories have faced weeks of non-supply.

Analysts must therefore find alternatives to helium. In gas chromatography (GC), a solution would be to replace helium as a carrier gas with hydrogen which for safety, purity and price reasons can be produced by means of a gas generator. This solution both anticipates future shortages and reduces costs due to helium consumption. This long-term study was carried out to evaluate the performance and disadvantages of hydrogen as a carrier gas for the analysis of organochlorine pesticides by GC-MS with electron ionization.

After some adjustments needed to upgrade the system and to avoid certain problems, this study demonstrated that hydrogen can be used as a carrier gas and is an effective substitute for helium in GC-MS applications


Published in SPECTRA ANALYSIS, N °301