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Tracerco targets fuel fraud with world's first portable test system



Leading technology specialist Tracerco, part of the Johnson Matthey group, has developed the world's first fully portable, lightweight and rugged system to test for tampering in fuel.

Nemesis, the only analyser of its kind, is the latest addition to Tracerco's range of Product Assurance technologies and is expected to play a significant role in the global fight against fuel adulteration, substitution and smuggling.


Governments and other organisations are deprived of billions of pounds worth of taxation revenues each year from fraudulent activities within fuel supply chains.

Fuel adulteration is a global problem in both the developed world and emerging economies, driven by significant price differentials between subsidised or rebated fuels, non-rebated fuels and industrial solvents. In the UK, the commonest form of abuse is the removal of marker dyes from rebated diesel which is then sold at or near the price of fully taxed fuel.

Tracerco leads the world in the research and development of launder resistant fuel markers. Previously, fuel analysis to detect non launderable markers had to be undertaken at a central laboratory location which can lead to unacceptable delays in subsequent enforcement action. Nemesis represents a bespoke solution to combat this problem. The system's fuel markers are highly resistant to all known laundering methods and multiple markers can be detected within a single sample.

Nemesis is field portable and provides rapid sample analysis with marker detection down to extremely low levels. Results are available at the touch of a button and presented in a clear and precise quantitative format which eliminates the risk of ambiguous interpretation. Collected data can be transmitted instantly using 3 or 4G technology to a central control location, thereby avoiding the potential for tampering or interfering with the results.

Measuring 50cm by 31cm by 46cm and weighing 22 kgs, Nemesis is fully portable and can be powered from a car battery, making it ideal for use in the remotest of locations. The analyser unit is weatherproof, extremely rugged and doesn't require a lengthy start up making it ideal for rapid deployment.

Andy Hurst, Tracerco's managing director, said "Nemesis is a new-to-the-world portable analyser, designed and developed by Tracerco scientists and engineers. It enables rapid in field analysis to detect Tracerco's covert markers in fuel samples recovered at roadsides or retail petrol stations.

"Nemesis helps keep us at the forefront of fuel protection, and we hope it will help national government and other clients to counter a broad array of crimes associated with fuel adulteration and substitution".

To see Nemesis in action, visit YouTube

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