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Application of Sulfonated Carbons for Mercury Removal in Gas Processing

Kumar Reddy, K. Suresh, Prabhu, A., Al Shoaibi, Ahmed, Srinivasakannan, C.
Energy & Fuels 2016 v.30 no.4 pp. 3227-3232
active sites, adsorbents, adsorption, aluminum, catalysts, fuel production, heat exchangers, labor force, mercury, natural gas, risk, standard operating procedures, sulfur, temperature
Mercury present in natural gas streams is known to damage aluminum heat exchangers and precious catalyst beds and is a health risk to the work force; therefore, its removal is essential in the natural-gas-processing industries. The present research work attempts to test various sulfur-based adsorbents for elemental mercury adsorption capacity. Sulfur-impregnated carbons (SICs) and sulfonated carbons (SCs) were synthesized, while popular commercially available (Norit and UOP) sulfur-based adsorbents were used in this study. The adsorption capacities of all of the adsorbents were assessed at 30 and 50 °C. An increase in mercury adsorption capacity is attributed to predominance of chemisorption as a result of the presence of sulfur moiety. Among these adsorbents, SC-600 is observed to possess the maximum adsorption capacity of 5501 μg/g at 50 °C temperature even at a low sulfur content compared to its counterparts. This is due to the superior adsorbent preparation protocol adopted in SC synthesis, which renders the availability of the active site in the sorbent for better mercury adsorption. This work may trigger use of SC adsorbents for various industrial mercury removal applications.