Research builds on previous work using ‘chemical spinning’.
Scientists have discovered a new chemical process to convert odorous, toxic gases into pure combustible fuels.
The process was recently described in the American Journal of Chemical Society ACS Sustainable Chemical Engineering, Hydrogen Sulfide – Converted to hydrogen fuel, commonly referred to as “sewage gas”. Hydrogen sulfide comes from compost pits and sewer pipes and is a key product of industrial activities, including oil and gas refining, paper and mineral production.
The process described in this study uses relatively low energy and relatively inexpensive materials – a small amount of the chemical iron sulfide molybdenum as an additive.
In addition to smelling like rotten eggs, hydrogen sulfide is highly toxic, damaging pipes and damaging the health of people who come in contact with it.
“Hydrogen sulfide is one of the most harmful gases in industry and the environment,” says Lang Kin, a co-author and research fellow at Ohio State University in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. And because gas is so harmful, many researchers want to convert hydrogen sulfide into something less harmful, something more valuable.
The study was developed using a process called chemical vortex by the same research team, which involves adding iron oxide particles to high pressure reactors to burn fuels without direct contact between air and fuel. The team first used chemical recycling on coal and shale gas to convert fossil fuels into electricity without releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The initial process used iron oxide to break down fossil fuels.
The researchers later applied the idea to hydrogen sulfide, a process that converts hydrogen sulfide into hydrogen. Researchers have found that pure chemical, iron sulfide does not have the desired effect on large scale industrial applications. The research team is trying to identify other cheap chemicals that could greatly aggravate that change. This study shows that introducing small amounts of molybdenum into iron sulfide may be an attractive option.
That material is relatively inexpensive and readily available, making it an attractive option for larger projects.
The researchers said that converting this toxic gas into hydrogen fuel would produce alternative oil and gas that could contribute to climate change.
Kalinini Jangam, lead author of the study and a graduate of the Ohio State Pure Energy Research Laboratory, said: But what we are doing is correcting this decay process and producing a valuable product.
For this most recent study, researchers found that molybdenum modulates hydrogen sulfide decomposition, splitting into two components – hydrogen fuel and sulfur.
This work is at the beginning of a scientific process – the researchers show that the process took place in a laboratory; Challenges are coming at the industry level.
“The big picture is that we want to solve the harmful gas problem, and we thought that our chemical circulation process would allow that,” Kin said. And here, we have found a way to do this value in a laboratory that produces added hydrogen fuel.
Reference: “Mo-Doped FeS Medium h2 Product from H2S. by Situ Cyclic Sulfur Looping Scheme ”by Kalyani Jangam, Yu-Yen Chen, Lang Qin and Liang-Shih Fan, August 12, 2021, ACS Sustainable Chemical Engineering.
DOI: 10.1021 / acssuschemeng.1c03410
The main author of this article is Liang-Shih Fan, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering in Ohio. Yu-Yen Chen, a former doctoral student at the Support Laboratory, also contributed.