The existence of sulfur compounds in crude oil is causing challenging problems since a long time ago, because of their impacts on the environment and oil processing and refining. That’s why ultra-low sulfur fuel oil is highly required in the range of 0–50 ppm. The removal of these compounds is a very tedious task due to the low concentration of the sulfur compounds in the crude oil, and also because of the complex matrix of the crude oil. The refining companies evaluate the technologies to meet the requirement of the efficiency and the cost for the removal of these compounds from the fuel. Therefore, the aim of this study is to evaluate the removal efficiency of the sulfur compounds from crude oil using simple and inexpensive electro-membrane flow reactor method. Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) coated electro-membrane flow reactor was developed for the first time for the removal of sulfur compounds in crude oil. Diesel was used as a model for crude oil. A wide range of sulfur compounds; thiophene, benzothiophene, methylbenzothiophene, dimethylbenzothiophene, dibenzothiophene, and methyldibenzothiophene was tested for removal. The AgNPs were biosynthesized from Basil (Ocimum basilicum) plant extract and characterized with x-ray diffraction (XRD) scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transition electron microscope (TEM). AgNPs were used to coat the polysulfone membrane and the coating was confirmed with SEM. Different solvents (acetonitrile, hexane, toluene, and acetone) were investigated as acceptor phase. Acetonitrile was selected as the acceptor phase for removing sulfur compounds from the crude oil model at 40 min removal time and 60 ml/min and 100 V. The membrane coating with AgNPs revealed a significant enhancement in the removal with ~ 15%. The analysis was performed using gas chromatography with sulfur chemiluminescence detector, the parameters of the removal were optimized, and this method showed excellent removal efficiency from 70 to 79%.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the support provided by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) through the Science & Technology Unit at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) funding this work; project No. 12-PET3009-04, as part of the National Science, Technology and Innovation Plan (NSTIP).
© 2022, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals.
- Membrane flow reactor
- Silver nanoparticles
ASJC Scopus subject areas