WIT Press

Desulfurization Of Heavy Crude Oil By Microwave Irradiation


Free (open access)

Paper DOI






Page Range

455 - 465




435 kb


A. Miadonye, S. Snow, D. J. G. Irwin, M. Rashid Khan


Heavy crude oils normally have a high sulfur content and are usually very viscous. To improve the quality of the refinery fractions and subsequent consumers’ products, it is imperative to remove the impurities and contaminants and, where possible, upgrade the heavy crude oil. In this project, the desulphurization process of Arabian heavy sour crude oil was studied by a novel method of microwave irradiation. The heat transfer characteristics of various mineral additives were studied for use as microwave sensitizers. Crude oil samples containing various combinations of hydrogen donor additives, catalysts, and microwave sensitizers were studied. The samples were exposed to different irradiation periods at different power levels in a modified domestic microwave oven. The results indicate that crude oil microwave absorption characteristics can be improved fourfold with charcoal and doubled with polar solvents, but they showed negligible change with serpentine, due to poor hear transfer properties. The sulfur content of the original crude oil was reduced by 2.3% with H2 at 20 atmosphere pressure and 5 minutes irradiation period; and by 33.8% with ethanolamine as the hydrogen donor and 25 minutes irradiation period. For the crude oil fractions, the sulfur reductions were up to 48% and 10% for lighter and heavier fractions respectively. Analysis with GC-FID showed strong evidence of fragmentation and recombination reactions in samples irradiated for 20 and 25 minutes with a temperature of 300°C and above. Keywords: crude oil desulfurization, microwave irradiation, petroleum upgrading, hydro-desulfurization, microwave sensitizers.


crude oil desulfurization, microwave irradiation, petroleumupgrading, hydro-desulfurization, microwave sensitizers