Acidic sites enhanced ultra-deep desulfurization performance of novel NiZnO-based mixed oxides mesoporous adsorbents

Rooh Ullah, Mustafa Tuzen, Saif Ullah, Muhammad Haroon, Rozina Khattak, Tawfik A. Saleh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A series of novel mixed metal oxides (MOs), such as ZnO-Al2O3, ZnO-Al2O3-SiO2, and ZnO-SiO2, were prepared through the double hydrolysis technique and applied as supports for Ni/MOs. The desulfurization activities of these Ni/MOs-based sorbents were investigated in a fixed bed reactor by model gasoline. Results reveal that the reactive adsorption desulfurization efficiency of sorbents was reduced in the order: 10%Ni/ZnO-Al2O3 ˃ 10%Ni/ZnO-Al2O3-SiO2 ˃ 10%Ni/ZnO-SiO2. Among them, the 10%NiZnO-Al2O3 adsorbent exhibited superior desulfurization performance. It achieved the highest breakthrough (10 ppm) up to 78 mL of model gasoline fuel flow, corresponding to 154 mg S/g accumulated sulfur capacity at a breakthrough point, which is four folds higher than the previously reported studies on NiZnO-based materials. The characterizations indicated that the 10%NiZnO-Al2O3 based mixed oxide adsorbent prepared using the double hydrolysis procedure comprises higher Lewis and Lewis/Brønsted ratio acid sites, higher surface area, greater pore size distribution, and a lesser amount of inactive ZnAl2O4 spinel, resulting in a better ZnO dispersion. Moreover, the well-developed pore volume reduced the diffusion resistance of reactant molecules to highly concentrated acid sites, thus leading to higher thiophene conversion and accumulated sulfur adsorption capacity. Based on our results, a mechanism is planned for the reactive adsorption desulfurization activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102566
JournalSurfaces and Interfaces
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • High accumulated sulfur capacity
  • Lewis acid sites
  • Mixed metal oxides
  • Superior desulfurization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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