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On-site analysis for Hydrocarbons (PAH's, TPH, DRO, GRO, BTEX), Heavy Metals, Chlorinated Solvents and more.

It is difficult to select which standard the unknown sample matches, yet GC is relied on by laboratories to give a definitive hydrocarbon identification. An incorrect identification would mean the results provided would be inaccurate and potentially lead to an incorrect waste classification. The laboratory selected diesel as the closest match in this case.

See below for the correct identification.

The QED fingerprints below are much easier to interpret than the GC results.

              QED CREOSOTE FINGERPRINT                                                   QED DIESEL FINGERPRINT

The QED fingerprint of the same unknown sample as before (black line) is compared to the QED library fingerprints (red line) of certified creosote and diesel reference standards. It is instantly obvious that the creosote fingerprint is far closer to the sample than that of diesel. Creosote was revealed to be the major hydrocarbon actually present in the sample. The purple line indicates other hydrocarbons in the sample, which the QED also identified.

The QED has a very low response to naturally occurring compounds and easily identifies and subtracts background organics, such as leaf mould or biofuels. These are reported incorrectly by GC as Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon or TPH, entailing massive unnecessary expenditure on soil removal and remediation.

The QED can also analyse water samples.

The fingerprint for each sample is also saved as a picture file for incorporation into reports etc. The % value is the match certainty, where 100% is an exact match to a reference standard.

Despite its laboratory-sized analytical capabilities, the QED is very portable. It will fit in a suitcase and can be taken as hand luggage on aircraft. It is currently in use in a range of environments, from Mozambique to the Falkland Islands.

“The QED was used to identify contaminated soil in the field, which allowed for the segregation of the contaminated soil from non-contaminated soil during excavation.   We were able to save time and money by quickly identifying contaminated soil for segregation purposes during excavation.  Also, time and money was saved by not over excavating and removing the need for remobilization.  The QED provided the ability to sample in the field rather than in the lab. The ability to have the real-time data was beneficial.  The QED/UVF method was very user friendly and easy to understand. It worked very well in locating concentrations of contaminates associated with petroleum release.  The estimated cost savings on this site in using the QED/UVF method total equal $16,600” GRI, US

By analysing a greater number of samples, the volume of soil that falls into the contaminated or hazardous classification can be more accurately defined, reducing the cost of disposal/treatment. Real time analysis also helps to maximise the efficiency of soil excavation, again contributing to a lower overall project cost and lower environmental impact by reducing plant and lorry movements.

The QED is a UK designed and manufactured analyser with detection limits of 0.1 mg/kg for most fuels and 0.002 mg/kg for BaP , which is more than adequate for the 0.01% limit for BaP at the 1000 mg/kg TPH lower limit. Used in conjunction with the XRF it provides the complete package for analysis of the TPH and heavy metal contamination which is present in 90% of UK brownfield sites.

The QED is available for purchase or hire. It is easy to use and can be operated with minimal training or facilities. At an average cost of considerably under £20 per sample, including hire costs and all consumables, the QED is economical to use and ensures WM3 compliance.

Some client testimonials:


Click here for full report

“It is estimated that $10,000 was saved on this project using the QED/UVF technology in analytical and remobilization fees and three months’ worth of time savings.” ATC Cardno

Click here for full report

 “A lot of time was saved during this project considering we did not have to wait the 2 – 3 days for a lab to turn around our samples and provide the analytical data needed.  Also, it was interesting to see the types of petroleum that the instrument detected instead of just a numerical value.  We saved money on this project using the QED/UVF method by not needing to over-excavate or advance the excavation based solely on PID readings.” Arcadis

Click here for full report

Using the newest UVF technology, the QED Hydrocarbon analyser from QROS gives you accurate results immediately. By simplifying the methods and bringing the cost right down in comparison to laboratory methods, on site testing is now the method of choice, and is encouraged by the Environment Agency - click here for their latest guidelines: MCERTS AND ON SITE ANALYSIS

The speed and low cost of obtaining quality data with the QED enables a far higher sampling density to be achieved than by using laboratory data alone,allowing greater accuracy in determining areas of contamination. Major cost savings of 50% and more are readily achievable through an increased confidence in the site conceptual model, and by minimising remobilisations and unnecessary soil removal.


The QED is easy to use and generates real time high quality data in the field at a low cost from £10 per sample, including our very economical hire costs. In combination with our XRF and Chlorinated Solvents techniques the QED is the complete package for remediations on 90% of brownfield sites.



The QED is the only analyser either in the laboratory or on site that in a single analysis can identify the hydrocarbon and give quantitative data for all the parameters needed to obtain the hazard classification for soils containing oily waste. The QED:

“I wouldn’t run a waste management business without a QED” - RG, London


The Department should implement the UVF analysis for petroleum contaminated soil based on the results of this project. The Department can expect a cost savings of nearly fifty percent and a quicker delivery for the analysis of petroleum contaminated soil. The results will be measured by reduced invoice amounts and a shorter duration between sample collection and sample results on future projects. ”                               

 Transition to Ultraviolet Fluorescence Test Method p13

The problem with Gas Chromatography (GC)

The standard laboratory method for oily waste analysis is Gas Chromatography, which only gives accurate quantification if the identity of the hydrocarbon is already known. The GC chromatograms below compare creosote and diesel standards to an unknown sample.

The New Generation of On Site Analysis: the QED Hydrocarbon Analyser is a genuine step forward in On Site Testing giving you the best quality results for BTEX, GRO, DRO, TPH, sum16 PAH and BaP in a single 2 second test for under £20 per sample. Allowed by the UK Environment Agency for regulatory purposes, now recommended by the US Department of Transportation.

These are typical results achieved by the QED showing results in parts per million with identification of the hydrocarbon and its carbon banding from light to heavy (% Ratios.):

“Method 8015 would have cost six times more than UVF in order to receive the sample results within forty-eight hours. This is a substantial cost savings.”

Transition to Ultraviolet Fluorescence Test Method  p7

These results are predicated on 48 hour turnaround. You can achieve quicker results by using the QED yourself, with results available within 5 minutes of taking the sample, making even greater cost savings possible.

“The team compared the actual cost spent over an eighteen month period on the current method to the cost if UVF had been utilized. The result would have been an almost fifty percent savings if UVF had been used. A savings of six times the actual cost would have been realized if the traditional method had been rushed to equal the forty-eight hour standard turnaround time of UVF.”

               Transition to Ultraviolet Fluorescence Test Method     p2

        Read the entire report here: DOT QED Report “Transition to Ultraviolet Fluorescence Test Method.”



 In an independent 18 month study on the QED (referred to here as UVF) the following findings were made:

Easy to use - watch the short You Tube film.


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