Heteroatomic (N, S, O) species are a significant factor in the stability and usefulness of natural and synthetic fossil fuels. Although sulphur and nitrogen removal have received much attention, oxygen is also important, being the most abundant heteroatom in most coals and requiring consumption for its removal, a requirement which can adversely affect the economics of coal liquefaction. Oxygen bonds (for example, ethers), on the other hand, may be the ‘weak link’ in the depolymerization of coal. Also, oxygen functionalities may interfere with the desulphurization and denitrogenation processes. Thus, the unequivocal identification and quantitative determination of oxygen functionalities could greatly aid in the design of processes for producing and upgrading synthetic fuels in a cost-effective manner1,2. We now report the successful use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) of naturally abundant 17O to determine oxygen functionalities in synthetic fuels.
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Grandy, D., Petrakis, L., Young, D. et al. Determination of oxygen functionalities in synthetic fuels by NMR of naturally abundant 17O. Nature 308, 175–177 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1038/308175a0
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