Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Detecting Low Levels of Aromatics in Alkenes

Request Number
Due Date
Jan 16
Program Manager


Supplier agreement, technology acquisition, joint development, consulting


Phase 1 – Method evaluation (3-6 months)
Phase 2 – Commercial use (6-12 months)


Purchase of technology is preferred but funding for adapting technology to meet the stated specifications may be available. All financials are to be negotiated.

RFP was closed on
Jan 2020

RFP Title


Detecting Low Levels of Aromatics in Alkenes
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing a global petrochemical company, is looking for analytical techniques to measure very low levels of aromatic BTEX compounds (Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl Benzene and Xylene) that are present in a mixed alkenes rich stream (>99.5% alkenes). The preferred technique should be reasonably simple to operate and has to meet requirements for use in a Quality Assurance/Quality Control lab.


An alkene is an unsaturated hydrocarbon that contains at least one carbon-carbon double bond. Alkenes are basic chemicals that are used in many applications. NineSigma’s client produces mixed alkenes of different molecular weights (C4 to C30) and they are to be purified after production.

An essential part of this purifying process is to identify and quantify undesired substances with BTEX compounds being the most common examples. BTEX are a group of structurally similar aromatic compounds that include benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and the 3 xylene isomers.

The client is looking for analytical techniques that can be used to quantify very low levels of BTEX compounds in their alkene rich streams. Currently, similarities between properties of alkenes and BTEX make their differentiation a major challenge for conventional analytical techniques.  And, the techniques that are feasible, might not be a good fit for a QA/QC lab environment.

A successful identification of an analytical technique to routinely measure BTEX levels would facilitate the subsequent separation process.

Key Success Criteria

The successful technology will have the following specifications:

  • Able to determine low levels of BTEX in an alkene rich stream (>99.5%)
    • Be able to measure the presence of BTEX ideally down to the low ppb level: at least below 50 ppb, preferably below 10 ppb
    • Be repeatable and reproducible
    • Be able to give a result within a few hours, preferably faster
  • Must be suitable for use in a QA/QC lab
    • Be reliable
    • Have a standard operating procedure
    • Be straightforward so that lab technicians can routinely operate it on a daily basis
    • Electronic data uploading ability is an advantage
Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Optical methods
  • Spectroscopy
  • Chromatography
  • Small benchtop NMR
Approaches not of Interest
  • Solutions that require long-term development (e.g. more than 1-2 years to reach commercial use)
  • Technology requiring highly skilled staff to operate (e.g. high magnetic field NMR)
  • Technologies that would be too expensive for implementation in a QA/QC lab (>>US$500,000 per equipment)   
Items to be Submitted

Your response should not contain any confidential information and address the following:

  • Features and accuracy of the proposed method
  • Maturity of the proposed method
  • Availability of systems for evaluation in a client specified setting
  • IP situation
  • Cost projections
  • Short overview of the company or team behind the proposal and expertise in the fields or related fields of interest

The client will review submitted proposals and possibly ask clarifying questions before selecting the most suitable candidates for evaluation. During the selection process, the client may execute non-disclosure agreements (NDA) with selected respondent(s), seek further information disclosure, and discuss specific targets.

Client will evaluate all responses and choose those of greatest interest for direct discussions that could lead to contractual engagement or other commercial arrangements with selected respondent.

Preferred Collaboration Types
Area of Interest