New approach removes sulfur from military-grade fuel

Mar 29, 2006

The military needs to get the sulfur out of its fuel, in order to use the fuel to produce hydrogen for fuel cell use in the field. Fuel cells can generate the electricity necessary to power electronic gadgets and facilitate communications, while avoiding use of generators that are noisy and create heat signatures.

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a compact and rugged microchannel distillation unit to create a light fraction of JP-8, the standard military fuel. The JP-8 light fraction is then reacted in a catalytic process called hydrodesulfurization, in order to remove the sulfur from the fuel. Conventional technology utilizes hydrogen as the co-reactant with JP-8 to power the process, but it is not available in the field. Syngas can be generated by steam reforming of the purified fuel.

Most of the syngas is further purified for use by the fuel cell, but a fraction of the syngas is diverted to the hydrodesulfurization unit. The use of syngas creates some challenges, but it appears that they have been mostly overcome in the PNNL process, and syngas performs almost as well as pure hydrogen.

Gas phase operation of the process allows significant increase in throughput and decrease in operating pressure compared with conventional technology. Residual sulfur concentration in the hydrodesulfurized fuel below five parts per million has been obtained.

Source: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Explore further: How to find a submarine

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Coal gas boom in China holds climate change risks

Aug 22, 2014

Deep in the hilly grasslands of remote Inner Mongolia, twin smoke stacks rise more than 200 feet into the sky, their steam and sulfur billowing over herds of sheep and cattle. Both day and night, the rumble ...

New catalyst converts carbon dioxide to fuel

Jul 30, 2014

Scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago have synthesized a catalyst that improves their system for converting waste carbon dioxide into syngas, a precursor of gasoline and other energy-rich products, bringing ...

Researcher seeks upgrades for cleaner oilsands

Jul 16, 2014

We live in a province rich in fossil fuel resources, and great profits can be made from them. However, the use of these fossil fuels comes at a significant environmental cost. The greenhouse gas emissions ...

Recommended for you

Should the Japanese give nuclear power another chance?

1 minute ago

On September 9, 2014, the Japan Times reported an increasing number of suicides coming from the survivors of the March 2011 disaster. In Minami Soma Hospital, which is located 23 km away from the power plant, ...

Ericsson profit down 10 pct despite higher sales

2 hours ago

Wireless equipment maker Ericsson says its third-quarter earnings slumped 10 percent despite higher sales due to increased operating costs and negative effects from currency hedging.

UK wind power share shows record rise

3 hours ago

The United Kingdom wind power production has been enjoying an upward trajectory, and on Tuesday wind power achieved a significant energy production milestone, reported Brooks Hays for UPI. High winds from Hurricane Gonzalo were the force behind wind turbines outproducing nuclear power ...

User comments : 0