Final Report: Nanocrystalline Materials for Removal of Reduced Sulfur and Nitrogen Compounds From Fuel Gas

EPA Contract Number: EPD07038
Title: Nanocrystalline Materials for Removal of Reduced Sulfur and Nitrogen Compounds From Fuel Gas
Investigators: Winecki, Slawomir
Small Business: NanoScale Materials, Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2007 through August 31, 2007
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Air Pollution

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

During Phase I of the project, nearly 30 novel sorbents and catalysts were synthesized and evaluated experimentally using a gas mixture that realistically resembles real fuel gas composition. All sorbents and catalysts were synthesized in their nanocrystalline forms using proprietary methods developed by NanoScale. Sorbents and catalysts were tailored to selectively react with reduced sulfur and nitrogen compounds present in fuel gas but also to be immune to other components of the fuel gas. The performance testing included both laboratory -scale experiments, as well as pilot-scale demonstrations in real fuel gas conditions at Western Research Institute (WRI) in Laramie, Wyoming.

The Phase I project identified three formulations effective as pollutant controls for the IGCC application:

  • High temperature regenerable desulfurization sorbent effective against H2S at 700 °C (1300°F).
  • Low temperature sorbent effective for simultaneous removal of H2S and hydrogen cyanide at 150° C (300°F).
  • High temperature ammonia decomposition catalyst effective at 850 °C (1560°F).

One of the materials tested at the WRI gasifier was the regenerable high-temperature H2S sorbent. Laboratory -scale tests demonstrated that this formulation is effective toward H2S and COS pollutants in the 400–700°C range. This performance was confirmed at real synthesis gas condition at WRI. The sorbent was used five times, with regeneration cycles applied in between each run. The figure below shows the breakthrough performance for all runs conducted. The tested sorbent demonstrated a clear ability to effectively remove hydrogen sulfide from the synthesis gas stream, and an ability to be regenerated multiple times.

Figure 1. Breakthrough Performance of NanoScale Regenerable H[2]S Sorbent (runs 1-5)

Figure 1. Breakthrough Performance of NanoScale Regenerable H2S Sorbent (runs 1–5)


NanoScale has successfully demonstrated that two of its nanocrystalline sorbents are effective for removal of sulfur sulfide and hydrogen cyanide from coal fuel gas. In addition, NanoScale’s catalyst showed promising capability for decomposition of ammonia into hydrogen and nitrogen. All three materials were consistently effective in both laboratory testing and pilot-scale gasifier demonstrations at WRI. Further development and optimization of these materials will be carried out in the Phase II effort.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, integrated gasification combined cycle, IGCC, nanocrystalline sorbents and catalysts, removal of reduced sulfur and nitrogen compounds,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, air pollution control, nanotechnology, flue gas, emissions control

SBIR Phase II:

Nanocrystalline Materials for Removal of Reduced Sulfur and Nitrogen Compounds From Fuel Gas