India develops new process for removing sulphur from crude oil
A laboratory of India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed a new single-step hydrogen-free desulphurization process to remove sulphur from crude oil, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The simple and inexpensive process offers a potentially transformative low-carbon desulphurization solution for bulk processing of petroleum streams at ambient pressures and mild temperatures, the statement said.
It added the process has the potential to change the existing desulfurization configuration of crude oil and refinery streams in a cost-effective manner without the use of expensive hydrogen, especially for marine and industrial heating applications.
It also said that key patents have been filed internationally and additional filings, including trademark protection, are in progress.
The desulphurization process has been developed by the CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP), which is one of the 37 constituent laboratories of the CSIR, an autonomous society headed by the country’s prime minister.
Crude oil and many petroleum refining streams contain sulphur-containing heterocyclic aromatic compounds, which are responsible for the corrosion of assets, poor fuel quality, health issues, and environmental problems. Refinery streams like petrol, diesel, jet fuel, kerosene and fuel oil therefore need to be treated for sulphur reduction before their final end-use.
Conventionally, such treatment involves expensive, high-pressure hydrogen, high-temperature operations and significant capital investment, and also substantial associated net greenhouse emissions for effecting the necessary desulphurization.
The new single-step hydrogen-free desulphurization process can remove up to 90 percent of the sulphur content, depending on the specific nature of the stream being treated, according to the statement.
The transformed sulphur compounds produced by the process are easily separable from the de-sulfurized crudes or other refinery streams via a simple filtration process, offering promise in bulk applications like road construction and coatings.