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Dimethyl sulfide adsorption from natural gas for solid oxide fuel cell applications

Barelli, Linda, Bidini, Gianni, Desideri, Umberto, Discepoli, Gabriele, Sisani, Elena
Fuel processing technology 2015 v.140 pp. 21-31
activated carbon, adsorption, dimethyl sulfide, emissions, fuel cells, natural gas, odor compounds, sorbents, sulfur, zeolites
The use of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) systems in micro-CHP applications is of great interest because of high efficiency, low emissions and absence of noise. However, SOFCs are sensitive to degradation caused by organic sulfur compounds present in natural gas or added as odorants. Among them, dimethyl sulfide (DMS) is one of the sulfur species most resistant to purification treatments and, relative to DMS removal, a lack in literature is highlighted for the investigated application.Regarding adsorption technology, the present work deals with an organic sensitivity performance analysis of different commercial sorbents. Virgin and impregnated activated carbons and a natural zeolite were tested, varying gas hourly space velocity, reactor geometry and filter assembly. Because of differences in activity towards DMS exhibited by the investigated materials, to exploit their selectivity, also layered sorbents were realized and tested.Starting from resulting data, for the yearly operation of 1kWel SOFC-based micro-CHP system, an optimization of filter assembly (also considering multi-layered configurations) and operative conditions was performed, leading to a strong reduction in filter volume (up to five times) and cost (more than three times), with overall pressure drops compatible with pipeline gas distribution pressure.