THWRC Awarded Proposal 515LUB0041H

Project Number:       515LUB0041H

Title:                             Development and Testing of Amine-Type Scavengers for the Removal of

                                      H2S from Liquid Sour Crudes

Lead PI:                     Tracy Benson

Awarded Amount:    $23,000


            The aim of this research is to develop and test a series of absorbents (known as scavengers) for the removal of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) from crude liquid oils.  Crude oils that have sulfur concentrations more than 0.5 wt% are considered sour crudes, since they are characterized by a foul, odorous smell. Sour crudes are of lower quality and present serious health and environmental concerns. Therefore, sustainable measures to lower the sulfur content (i.e. crude oil sweetening) are of significant importance, financially and environmentally.  Organic sulfur compounds, such as di-benzothiophene, are usually converted using hydro-desulfurization reactions. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), however, is normally removed using amine based absorbing materials, known as scavengers. Removing of H2S at the wellhead before transporting via pipeline or railcar increases the value of crude oil and in some cases is necessary to conform to legal transport laws.

            This research explores a series of scavengers to identify specific physical and chemical characteristics for optimum H2S removal in crude oils. Physical properties such as specific gravity (SG), viscosity, and solubility will be tested. Mass spectrometry and infrared and Raman spectroscopies will be used to determine chemical functional groups required for optimum H2S removal. Preliminary results, culminating from an in-depth literature review and laboratory testing, have identified several scavengers as being used, or potentially useful, by the industry. This research seeks to answer how and why some scavengers perform better for some crudes and environmental conditions than others with the long-term goal to develop designer scavengers and processing conditions for the crude oil industry.

            A graduate and an undergraduate student will perform the bulk of the laboratory work with interpretation of the results in consultation with the PI. The total estimated cost of this two-year project (including salaries for graduate and undergraduate students, travel, and supplies) is $50,000.