Adsorption removal of thiophene and dibenzothiophene from oils with activated carbon as adsorbent: effect of surface chemistry
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Commercial coconut-based activated carbons (AC), before and after being treated using 65 wt% HNO3 at different temperatures (termed as AC–Hs), were used as adsorbents to remove thiophene (T) or dibenzothiophene (DBT) from model oils. The fresh AC sample and all of the AC–Hs samples were characterized by Boehm titration, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, and thermal analysis, which yield the information of the surface chemistry properties of the carbon materials. The results show that in comparison to the fresh AC sample, the quantity of oxygen-containing functional groups on the surface of AC–Hs samples increases as the pretreatment temperature of the fresh AC sample increases. The adsorption capabilities of the AC samples for removal of T and DBT from model oils were evaluated in a batch-type reactor. It has been found that the refractory DBT can be removed easily over the untreated commercial AC with the removal efficiency even being higher than that of T. In the case of acid modified AC–Hs samples, the efficiency for removal of T has been greatly improved, but this is not the case for the removal of DBT. The possible mechanism for adsorption removal of T and DBT over activated carbons is discussed in terms of the quantity of surface oxygen-containing functional groups of adsorbents and the chemical structure of sulfur compounds. The effect of olefin (1-octene) and aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene) in the model oils on the selective adsorption DBT over AC is also evaluated, revealing that in the case of DBT, the competitive adsorption is involved in the process, and the removal efficiency levels off at a level over 80%.
KeywordsActivated carbon Acid modification Adsorption desulfurization Thiophene Dibenzothiophene
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This work was partly supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (Nos. 2003CB615806, G2005CB221203), the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in Universities supported by the Education Ministry of China (NCET-04-0274), and Fellowship for Talented Young Scientists supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Liaoning Province of China (No. 3040009).
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