Diesel Fuel DesulfurizationEPA Contract Number: 68D00230
Title: Diesel Fuel Desulfurization
Investigators: Nemser, Stuart
Small Business: Compact Membrane Systems Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: September 1, 2000 through March 1, 2001
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2000) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , SBIR - Air Pollution , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Description:This Phase I project will facilitate the development of diesel fuel biodesulfurization (BDS). Recent domestic and international targets have been set to reduce the sulfur in fuels to less than 100 ppm. (Present regulations are over 300 ppm.) Conventional hydrodesulfurization (HDS) is costly and works poorly at these low concentrations of sulfur. In this program, Compact Membrane Systems, Inc. will develop stable nonwetting membrane contractors to provide bubbleless oxygen delivery to grow bacteria for BDS of diesel and other fuels. Providing nonflammable oxygen delivery is a major obstacle to commercial development of diesel-based BDS. Present oxygen delivery technologies introduce oxygen bubbles to fuel, but Compact's membrane is hypothesized to dissolve oxygen directly into liquid. Also, unlike conventional microporous membranes, these membranes should not wet out over time. This new technology, if successful, should help make BDS a viable commercial alternative to HDS, allowing diesel producers to further reduce sulfur levels with a low-cost, high-quality process. In Phase I, the process will be demonstrated using dibenzothiophene as surrogate fuel. Compact Membrane Systems, Inc., will measure the rate of oxygen transfer and sulfur conversion. Economic analysis and durability testing will verify potential of the process. Special focus will be placed on potential fouling issues associated with higher molecular weight diesel fuels. In addition, multiple grades of nonwetting contactors and their fouling resistance will be evaluated.
The bubbleless oxygen system will allow rapid development of low sulfur gasoline, which is desired to meet the next round of environmental regulations. This technology also can be used for desulfurization of crude oils and gasoline and removal of their impurities (for example, nitrogen).