A method for sulfur determination in diesel fuel employing near infrared spectroscopy, variable selection and multivariate calibration is described. The performances of principal component regression (PCR) and partial least square (PLS) chemometric methods were compared with those shown by multiple linear regression (MLR), performed after variable selection based on the genetic algorithm (GA) or the successive projection algorithm (SPA). Ninety seven diesel samples were divided into three sets (41 for calibration, 30 for internal validation and 26 for external validation), each of them covering the full range of sulfur concentrations (from 0.07 to 0.33% w/w). Transflectance measurements were performed from 850 to 1800 nm. Although principal component analysis identified the presence of three groups, PLS, PCR and MLR provided models whose predicting capabilities were independent of the diesel type. Calibration with PLS and PCR employing all the 454 wavelengths provided root mean square errors of prediction (RMSEP) of 0.036% and 0.043% for the validation set, respectively. The use of GA and SPA for variable selection provided calibration models based on 19 and 9 wavelengths, with a RMSEP of 0.031% (PLS-GA), 0.022% (MLR-SPA) and 0.034% (MLR-GA). As the ASTM 4294 method allows a reproducibility of 0.05%, it can be concluded that a method based on NIR spectroscopy and multivariate calibration can be employed for the determination of sulfur in diesel fuels. Furthermore, the selection of variables can provide more robust calibration models and SPA provided more parsimonious models than GA.
- successive projections algorithm
- variable selection
- genetic algorithms