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Keywords:

  • desulfurization;
  • natural gas;
  • hydrogen sulfide;
  • fixed-bed bioreactors

Abstract

A chemo-biochemical process for desulfurization of simulated natural gas containing hydrogen sulfide (H2S) was investigated. The results showed that using polyurethane foam as a support for immobilization of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans obtained good biological oxidation performance and the maximum oxidation rate of ferrous iron was 4.12 kg m−3 h−1. Moreover, a semi-empirical formula was set up for calculating theoretical ferrous oxidation rate as a function of influent Fe2+ and Fe2+ concentration in the bioreactor. The integrated chemical and biological process achieved removal efficiencies of about 80% when treating high concentrations of H2S (15 000 ± 100 ppmv). © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry