R&D Projects > PicoGC Project

PicoGC Project

PicoGC project aims to develop a new MEMS-based device that will integrate, in a single and robust unit at chip-level, all the analytical functions necessary to perform gas chromatography analyses with the best performances never achieved by current MicroGC technology.


Changes in the COMPOSITION OF NATURAL GAS can increase to heavier hydrocarbons, changing not only the HEATING VALUE of the gas but also its dew point. In addition, the REAL-TIME MEASUREMENT of sulphur compounds and water vapour that can cause corrosion or condensation problems in the pipeline is very important. For these reasons, continuous measurement of the composition of Natural Gas becomes necessary to ensure adequate levels of quality and energy efficiency. In order to meet these requirements, the new configuration of the picoGC will allow to measure, in real-time and with HIGHER SENSITIVITY than the microGC’s currently available on the market, the natural gas composition and its low heating value.

ODORANTS added to the Natural Gas are colourless and have sharp smells. These are in most cases harmful to human health and its concentration must be measured regularly to ensure optimum odour levels in the Natural Gas distribution network. The most commonly used odorants are mercaptans, in particular terbutyl mercaptan (TBM) and tetrahydrothiophene (THT). PicoGC offers an exceptional and economically advantageous solution to perform ONLINE ANALYSES of odorants throughout the network with a HIGH SENSITIVITY LEVEL, avoiding offline analysis issues in external laboratories and making these measurements STANDARDISED.

MUDLOGGING: Time-savings are critical to ensure cost-efficient discovery and production of hydrocarbons. Mud-logging service companies have to evaluate the geology of gas formations, determining the total organic content of the rock performing analysis on a continuous 24-7 basis. Current measurement technology is used at rig-site but at the surface level, in a sheltered laboratory where the gas is analysed after mud separation. This requires extra time, increasing operational costs from drilling operations with 35% of the drilling costs coming from service activities. picoGC technology, SMALL, ROBUST AND EXTREMELY FAST which allows to perform REMOTE MEASUREMENTS, makes possible to fit the instrument on the drill pipe to retrieve REAL-TIME DATA IN CONTINUOUS MODE during logging operations, procuring accurate and rapid measurements to the control station which efficiently manages fast-changing parameters.


picoGC project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 756439.

Please visit: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/756439