Skip to main content
National MagLab logo

The MagLab is funded by the National Science Foundation and the State of Florida.

Mass Spectrometry for Complex Mixtures in Energy and the Environment

Date: 01/21/2024 - 01/24/2024

Location: Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, St. Petersburg, Florida

34th Sanibel Conference on Mass Spectrometry


  • Janne Janis (University of Eastern Finland)
  • Amy McKenna (National High Magnetic Field Laboratory)

Location: Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront | St. Petersburg, Florida

Description: The world’s economy is strongly dependent on the availability of affordable energy supplies. While wind and solar energy is an important (and growing) part of the future energy supply, hydrocarbon-based resources will still be needed for fuels and as base materials for the chemical industry for decades to come. Mass spectrometry is the method of choice to understand complex formation pathways and upgrading of different raw materials like crude oil or biomass. High mass resolution and mass accuracy are the key characteristics to follow chemical changes on a molecular level. Instead of bulk parameters, high-resolution mass spectrometry is now able to give detailed molecular information about such ultra-complex mixtures as fossil fuels and biofuels. The same challenges that plagued the petroleum industry for mass spectral characterization of crude oil (e.g., aggregation, polyfunctionality) also occur in degrading biomass across all biospheres on Earth. Arguably as polydisperse as crude oil, natural organic matter occurs in terrestrial environments and aquatic systems and is comprised of decaying biomass and degradation byproducts from plants and animals.

This conference will be the first mass spectrometry focused event that will provide an opportunity for the two research fields of petroleum/biofuel and natural organic matter (NOM) to converge on the unique challenges associated with polydisperse complex mixtures and provide an opportunity to identify and learn from advancements made in each of these areas. Currently, the petroleum research that applies mass spectrometry is relegated to highly specialized conferences (e.g., Petrophase, ACS Division of Energy & Fuels, ASMS Annual Conference) whereas environmental NOM research is presented at environmental conferences (e.g., AGU, Ocean Sciences, Goldschmidt) with no overlap between the two fields despite obvious similarities and common challenges.

This conference will bring together scientists from a wide range of disciplines that converge on the application of novel and advanced mass spectral techniques for the characterization of complex organic mixtures. The applications span from conventional fossil fuels and biofuels to combustion aerosols and organic matter in water or soil, highlighting where high resolution mass spectrometry can play a major role in expanding the global knowledge base. We will discuss the status and future trends in the characterization of different mixtures, with specific emphasis on qualitative and quantitative aspects, current analytical challenges, data processing advancements and structural techniques.

The conference will strengthen the focus of mass spectrometric applications in the growing fields of energy and environment. This new landscape has and will impact the careers of a significant number of current and future ASMS members. The conference will be of great value to attendees from both industry and academic institutions.

Go to Sanibel Conference on Mass Spectrometry homepage