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Sulphur Removal System

In the early 1900s, the sulphuric oil used in automobiles would be burned by the engine and emit a horrible smell. This was not desirable and processes were invented to remove the sulphur. Today, in order for natural gas and oil to be marketable the sulphur must be removed. There are also legal limits on the contents of sulphur in products. Sulphur content in oil and natural gas ranges from traces to around 5 percent. If a crude oil contains some sulphur it is called sour crude. If it contains little or no sulphur it is called sweet crude.

SulpherHydro treating is one way of removing many of the contaminants from many of the intermediate or final products. In the hydro treating process, the crude oil is mixed with hydrogen and heated to about 300 degrees Celsius. The oil combined with the hydrogen then enters a reactor loaded with a catalyst, which promotes several reactions. Hydrogen combines with sulphur to form hydrogen sulphide (H 2S). The hydrogen sulphide is a toxic gas that needs further treatment. The combustion of a part of the H 2S stream in a furnace produces sulphur dioxide, water, and sulphur. The sulphur then can be removed safely. Oil sands mining projects near Fort McMurray, Alberta also include sulphur recovery as part of their facilities. Upgraders remove most of the sulphur from bitumen by converting it into elemental sulphur or retaining it in a coke by-product. This can be used in many products, such as fertilizers. The remaining sulphur is released into the atmosphere as sulphur dioxide.


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