Sulfur Speciation of Crude Oils by Partial Least Squares Regression Modeling of Their Infrared Spectra

P. de Peinder, T. Visser, R.W.P. Wagemans, J. Blomberg, H. Chaabani, F. Soulimani, B.M. Weckhuysen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Research has been carried out to determine the feasibility of partial least-squares regression (PLS) modeling of infrared (IR) spectra of crude oils as a tool for fast sulfur speciation. The study is a continuation of a previously developed method to predict long and short residue properties of crude oils from IR and near-infrared (NIR) spectra. Retention data of two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC GC) of 47 crude oil samples have been used as input for modeling the corresponding IR spectra. A total of 10 different PLS prediction models have been built: 1 for the total sulfur content and 9 for the sulfur compound classes (1) sulfides, thiols, disulfides, and thiophenes, (2) aryl-sulfides, (3) benzothiophenes, (4) naphthenic-benzothiophenes, (5) dibenzothiophenes, (6) naphthenic-dibenzothiophenes, (7) benzonaphthothiophenes, (8) naphthenic-benzo-naphthothiophenes, and (9) dinaphthothiophenes. Research was carried out on a set of 47 IR spectra of which 28 were selected for calibration by means of a principal component analysis. The remaining 19 spectra were used as a test set to validate the PLS regression models. The results confirm the conclusion from previous studies that PLS modeling of IR spectra to predict the total sulfur concentration of a crude oil is a valuable alternative for the commonly applied physicochemical ASTM method D2622. Besides, the concentration of dibenzothiophenes and three different benzothiophene classes can be predicted with reasonable accuracy. The corresponding models offer a valuable tool for quick on-site screening on these compounds, which are potentially harmful for production plants. The models for the remaining sulfur compound classes are insufficiently accurate to be used as a method for detailed sulfur speciation of crude oils.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-562
Number of pages6
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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