Desulfurization of Transportation Fuels with Zeolites Under Ambient Conditions

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Science  04 Jul 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5629, pp. 79-81
DOI: 10.1126/science.1085088

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Deep desulfurization of transportation fuels (gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels) is being mandated by U.S. and foreign governments and is also needed for future fuel cell applications. However, it is extremely difficult and costly to achieve with current technology, which requires catalytic reactors operated at high pressure and temperature. We show that Cu+ and Ag+ zeolite Y can adsorb sulfur compounds from commercial fuels selectively and with high sulfur capacities (by π complexation) at ambient temperature and pressure. Thus, the sulfur content was reduced from 430 to <0.2 parts per million by weight in a commercial diesel at a sorbent capacity of 34 cubic centimeters of clean diesel produced per gram of sorbent. This sulfur selectivity and capacity are orders of magnitude higher than those obtained by previously known sorbents.

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