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Gas Desulfurization


Development of an Industrial Technology to Manufacture a Complex Catalyst-Chemical Sorbent for Natural Gas Desulfurization in Fuel Cell Based Power Plant

Tech Area / Field

  • CHE-IND/Industrial Chemistry and Chemical Process Engineering/Chemistry

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • Plazmatech, Russia, Tula reg., Novomoskovsk


  • Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), USA, IL, Argonne\nM-C Power Corporation, USA, IL, Burr Ridge

Project summary

Fuel cells based power plants, that operate on the natural gas, have a desulfurization system to clean this gas from the sulfur compounds that are poisonous for the catalysts used for methane and carbon monoxide conversion.

A two-stage chemisorption catalytic desulfurization technique is used mainly for this purpose at present.

During the first stage of this technique, sulfur turns into a hydrogen sulfide in the result of a chemical reaction between the sulfur containing organic compounds of the natural gas and hydrogen (hydrating reaction). Cobalt-molybdenum or nickel-molybdenum catalysts applied to the aluminum oxide (Al2O3) are implemented for this reaction.

During the second stage, hydrogen sulfide chemisorption takes place. Zinc and magnum oxides based adsorbents are implemented as chemisorbents here.

So, as a rule, the desulfurizing unit consists of two high-temperature parts, which are the hydrogenating unit and the adsorption unit.

The goal of this project is to work out a manufacturing technology for the complex catalyst-chemical adsorbent for the natural gas desulfurization, which will be not worse in its characteristics than the best separately produced catalysts and chemisorbents commercially available at present, and will not exceed them in cost.

Implementation of such catalyst-chemisorbent will reduce the number of high-temperature desulfurization units and reduce for 70-80% the material used in this purpose.

Preliminary investigation, performed in RFNC-VNIIEF and in SEU PLAZMATECH, has shown that it is possible to solve this task.

The following work will be performed during the project realization:

· there will be analyzed possible ways of the catalyst-chemisorbent manufacturing technology development;

· there will be selected the most perspective catalyst materials for organic sulfur containing components hydration as well as the most perspective hydrogen sulfide chemisorbent materials;

· there will be defined the optimum ratio of the active materials in the catalyst-chemisorbents;

· there will be suggested two or three alternative catalyst-chemisorbent compositions and manufacturing technologies for them;

· it is planned to manufacture a pilot batch of the materials. There will be performed their comparison testing;

· there will be selected a catalyst-chemisorbent that will meet the necessary requirements the best way, and its manufacturing technology will be worked out;

· a set of physical, chemical, climatic, strength and other tests will be performed with this material. The selected material will also undergo testing under real PP operating conditions.

Basing on the results obtained, necessary production forms and records for the commercial catalyst-chemisorbent manufacturing will be elaborated.

The work will be performed by highly-qualified specialists in this area, the most part of them is involved in weapon programs. The team comprises Doctors and Candidates of Science, specialists in chemistry, physics, material study, heterogeneous catalysis and experimental techniques. The project is planned to cover 21 months. The scope of work performed by RFNC-VNIIEF specialists is estimated as 177 personґmonths, and 103 personґmonths for SEU PLAZMATECH specialists.

Technical issues will be constantly discussed with collaborators. Joint experiments and developments are possible.


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