Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor D.A.R. Kay
The high temperature gaseous desulphurization characteristics of calcined bastnaesite concentrates and cerium oxides have been investigated. The former is a solid solution of rare earth oxyfluorides (RE = La, Nd, Pr) and CeO₂, and has a fluorite type structure. The presence of dissolved CeO₂ in these concentrates is believed to be responsible for the reduction, desulfurization and regeneration characteristics of this mineral.
The chemistry of the desulfurization and regeneration process has been elucidated using a fixed bed of cerium oxide at high temperatures (800-1000°C). Coal gases, similar in composition to those generated by a Koppers-Totzek gasification unit, were desulfurized from 1.0% H₂S by volume to less than 4 ngS/mL (3 ppm) in a laboratory scale reactor. This represents a desulfurization efficiency of 99.98%. Desulfurization takes place through a non-catalytic gas-solid reaction where the reactant is in the form of a non-stoichiometric oxide, CeO₂_n.
2CeO₂_n(s) + (1-2x)H₂(g) = Ce₂O₂S(s) + 2(1-x)H₂O(g)
Adsorption of sulfur is facilitated by the presence of oxygen vacancies in the reduced sorbents. An interactive computing system was used in conjunction with the Ce-O-S phase stability diagram to predict the compositions of reactants and products in terms of the sulfur and oxygen potentials of the gas phase.
Regeneration of spent sorbents occurs readily in air, with the evolution of sulfur dioxide:
Ce₂O₂S(s) + O₂(g) = 2CeO₂(s) + SO₂(g)
Desulfurization efficiencies of cerium oxide compared favourably with those of similar high temperature technologies using iron oxide, limestone or dolomite.
Meng, Valerie Veronica Marie, "High Temperature Gaseous Desulfurization Using Cerium Oxides and Bastnaesite Concentrates" (1985). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1288.