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Petroleum Hydrocarbon Identification (PHI)

Alpha refers to our most basic GC-FID hydrocarbon analysis as Petroleum Hydrocarbon Identification (PHI). This method is analogous to a “qualitative TPH” analysis that a commercial environmental laboratory would provide, with some important differences. PHI is based on a modified Method 8015 approach for extractable hydrocarbons. First, rather than the typical 20- minute chromatographic run time these other laboratories use, Alpha utilizes an 80-minute chromatographic runtime. During this process, Alpha employs the most appropriate sample extraction procedure depending on whether the sample is aqueous, soil, sediment, tissue, or free product. There is a dramatic difference between the qualitative information provided by the high-resolution chromatography process used by Alpha and the work generated by a laboratory that does not specialize in hydrocarbon analysis.

Another major difference between what we provide for PHI analysis compared to other laboratories, is the qualifications and experience of our staff. Alpha has a dedicated hydrocarbon analytical staff that not only perform all of our forensic hydrocarbon analyses, but also  run our basic PHI analysis. A cursory qualitative narrative is included with this analysis and  outlines the hydrocarbon range the product elutes in, as well as a discussion of what the sample unknown is most similar to.This tentative identification is based on an interpretation of the chromatographic data utilizing pattern recognition and boiling point ranges, and the best match between the sample unknown and our extensive product reference library. The relative elution range of the sample material, based on a carbon number comparison, is also provided along with chromatograms of the sample and the closest reference product.

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