Hydrodesulfurization (HDS) is a catalytic chemical process widely used to remove sulfur (S) from natural gas and from refined petroleum products such as gasoline or petrol, jet fuel, kerosene, diesel fuel, and fuel oils. The purpose of removing the sulfur is to reduce the sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions that result from using those fuels in automotive vehicles, aircraft, railroad locomotives, ships, gas or oil burning power plants, residential and industrial furnaces, and other forms of fuel combustion.
Another important reason for removing sulfur from the naphtha streams within a petroleum refinery is that sulfur, even in extremely low concentrations, poisons the noble metal catalysts (platinum and rhenium) in the catalytic reforming units that are subsequently used to upgrade the octane rating of the naphtha streams.
removal of the resulting hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. In petroleum refineries, the hydrogen sulfide gas is then subsequently converted into byproduct elemental sulfur. In fact, the vast majority of the 64,000,000 metric tons of sulfur produced worldwide in 2005 was byproduct sulfur from refineries and other hydrocarbon processing plants.
The process chemistry
Hydrogenation is a class of chemical reactions in which the net result is the addition of hydrogen (H). Hydrogenolysis is a type of hydrogenation and results in the cleavage of the C-X chemical bond, where C is a carbon atom and X is a sulfur, nitrogen (N) or oxygen (O) atom.
The net result of a hydrogenolysis reaction is the formation of C-H and H-X chemical bonds. Thus, hydrodesulfurization is a hydrogenolysis reaction. Using ethanethiol (C2H5SH), a sulfur compound present in some petroleum products, as an example, the hydrodesulfurization reaction can be simply expressed as
[CENTER]Ethanethiol + Hydrogen
[CENTER]Ethane + Hydrogen sulfide
[CENTER]C2H6 + H2S
section catalysts and mechanisms
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