Analysis of ULSD

Application Note EDXRF1658

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The analysis of sulfur in ULSD (ultra-low sulfur diesel) is demonstrated.


Regulations around the world have limited the amount of sulfur in various fuels oils with particular attention to diesel fuel. For many years, road diesel has been limited to a maximum sulfur concentration between 10 – 15 ppm, depending on the global region. Now these limits are expanded to all diesel fuel, including use in large engines and off-road diesel engines.

NEX DE  premium high-performance benchtop EDXRF elemental spectrometerModel: NEX DE

ASTM and international norms

The Rigaku NEX DE EDXRF analyzer meets several international norms for the measurement of sulfur in petroleum oils, fuels, and ULSD using EDXRF.

Standard method Sulfur range
ISO 13032 8 – 50 mg/kg
ASTM D4294 16 mg/kg – 5%
IP 532 6 – 50 mg/kg
EN ISO 8754 300 mg/kg – 5%
EN ISO 20847 30 – 500 mg/kg


Empirical calibration was built using a suite of 6 commercially available certified diesel calibration standards.

Element: S
Units: ppm
Sample I.D. Standard value Calculated value
STD 1 5.0 4.72
STD 2 10.0 10.00
STD 3 15.0 14.69
STD 4 20.0 20.42
STD 5 25.0 25.03
STD 6 50.0 49.83

EDXRF1658 Correlation plot SCalibration plot S


Instrument repeatability (precision) is determined by ten repeat analyses of a sample in static position.

Element: S
Units: ppm
Sample Standard value Average value Std. dev % Relative
STD 1 5.0 4.75 0.30 6.0
STD 2 10.0 10.12 0.21 2.1
STD 3 15.0 15.09 0.22 1.5


The results shown here indicate the Rigaku NEX DE EDXRF analyzer gives excellent performance for the measurement of ULSD. The multi-element versatility of the NEX DE also makes it an ideal tool for the measurement of many other elements and oils, such as Ca and the metals V, Fe, and Ni in crude in residual oils.

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