Activated carbons (ACs) show great potential for selective adsorption removal of sulfur (SARS) from hydrocarbon fuels but require improvements in uptake and selectivity. Moreover, systematic equilibria and kinetic analyses of ACs for desulfurization are still lacking. This work examines the influence of modifying a commercial-grade activated carbon (AC) by CO2 and steam treatment for the selective adsorption removal of dibenzothiophene (DBT) and 4,6-dimethyldibenzothiophene (4,6-DMDBT) at 323 K. An untreated AC and a charcoal Norit carbon (CN) were used for comparative purposes. Physicochemical characterization of the samples was carried out by combining N2-physisorption, X-ray diffractometry, microscopy, thermogravimetric and infrared analyses. The steam and CO2 treated ACs exhibited higher sulfur uptakes than the untreated AC and CN samples. The steam treated AC appears to be especially effective to remove sulfur, showing a remarkable sulfur uptake (~24 mgS·gads−1 from a mixture of 1500 ppmw of DBT and 1500 ppm 4,6-DMDBT) due to an increased surface area and microporosity. The modified ACs showed similar capacities for both DBT and the sterically hindered 4,6-DMDBT molecules. In addition, they were found to be selective in the presence of sulfur-free aromatics and showed good multicycle stability. Compared to other adsorbents, the modified ACs exhibited relatively high adsorption capacities. The combination of batch and fixed bed measurements revealed that the adsorption sites of the samples are characterized as heterogeneous due to the better fit to the Freundlich isotherm. The kinetic breakthrough profiles were described by the linear driving force (LDF) model.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering