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Trish Meek* and Barbara van Cann^

How software can improve

biofuels production First it was United Airlines announcing plans to phase in biofuels in all flights operating out of LAX. Then KLM Royal Dutch actually launched flights from Oslo to Amsterdam using biofuels to power an Embraer 190.

T

and software can help producers reliably monitor, analyse, report and manage production.

his may be a drop in the bucket for

New technologies demand new approaches

an industry that now exceeds $700bn in yearly

From gas chromatography (GC), ion chromatography

revenue, but it’s clearly a sign of what’s to come.

and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy

It’s also proof that biofuels production is rapidly

to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

maturing, and this will dramatically increase

(ICP-MS), labs are increasingly outfitted with highly

expectations for quality and volume industry-

sensitive instruments capable of unprecedented

wide. As this happens, biofuels lab will be under

throughput. But all of this, while critical to managing

increased pressure to deliver quickly, efficiently

profitable production, creates data on a never-before-

and cost-effectively.

seen scale, and all of it must be traceable.

To meet the increasing industry demand,

The management and effective use of data can

producers will certainly step up production

be daunting. From routine analysis to complex

on entirely different scales. As this happens,

pattern recognition and reporting, mistakes

opportunities for pernicious inefficiencies

with data can compound rapidly. As production

and outright failures increase exponentially.

accelerates, managing data, with a laboratory

Fortunately, advanced analytical technologies

information management system (LIMS) for

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