Preparation of organic sulfur adsorbent from coal for adsorption of dibenzothiophene-type compounds in diesel fuel

Cigdem Shalaby, Xiaoliang Ma, Anning Zhou, Chunshan Song

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28 Scopus citations


High-performance organic sulfur adsorbents (OSA) have been prepared from coal by chemical activation for selective adsorption of the refractory sulfur compounds, such as 4-methyl dibenzothiophene and 4,6-dimethyldibenzothiophene, in diesel fuel. The performance of the prepared OSAs for adsorptive desulfurization (ADS) was evaluated in batch and flow adsorption systems at room temperature using a model diesel fuel. It was found that coal rank and preparation conditions, including activation agents (NaOH, KOH, and NaOH + KOH) and their ratio to coal, activation temperature, and time have significant impacts on the yield and ADS performance of the OSAs. The high-performance OSAs can be prepared from different ranks of coal by using NaOH + KOH as an activation agent with an activating-agent-to-coal ratio of 3.5. The yield of OSA increased in the order of lignite < high volatile bituminous coal < medium volatile bituminous coal < anthracite. The OSA-A, which was derived from an anthracite with the highest yield (68 wt %) by the activation at 650 °C for 1 h, gave the best ADS performance among the OSAs from all coal samples tested. The sulfur adsorption capacity of OSA-A reached 0.281 mmol-S/g-A at an equilibrium sulfur concentration of 50 ppmw in the model diesel fuel, which was 155% higher than a commercial coal-derived activated carbon and 35% higher than the best commercial activated carbon among all commercial activated carbons examined in our laboratory. The higher ADS capacity of OSA-A can be attributed to its significantly higher density (2.77 μmol/m2) of the adsorption sites on the surface as determined by Langmuir adsorption isotherm, which is related to its oxygen-containing functional groups on the carbonaceous surface as revealed by temperature-programmed desorption analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2620-2627
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 21 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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