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Hydrogen Recovery
from Desulfurization

Traditional methods for removal of sulfur for hydrogen recovery usually involve some variant of the Claus sulfur removal process. The Claus process involves separation of hydrogen sulfide, controlled burning of the hydrogen sulfide at high temperature, and then reaction of a mixture of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide over a series of catalyst beds.

Even the best catalyst beds leave some hydrogen sulfide and compounds formed in side reactions that must be removed with a tail gas process such as the Shell Catalytic Offgas Treatment (SCOT) process. These processes are large, expensive to operate, and complex in nature.

The non-thermal plasma gasifier has been shown to be capable of reforming heavy tars and oils and converting hydrogen sulfide to hydrogen and elemental sulfur. At the very least, this process would reduce the amount of hydrogen sulfide that would need to be processed through a Claus process. It would generate additional hydrogen for the refining or Fischer Tropsch process and may be capable of eliminating the Claus process totally.

The reaction is as follows: H2S + electric --> H2 + S

An advantage of this process is the ability to operate at temperature with little cooling of the synthesis gas. The commercial processes generally used (e.g. Claus) involve cooling and reheating of the gas and associated process streams. Even with process integration these steps reduce the overall efficiency of the system. The use of the plasma methodology for removal of hydrogen sulfide can potentially improve overall system efficiency.