For the past five years, scientists from Norwegian R&D; centre
SINTEF and the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) have attempted
to develop cheaper methods to reduce the amount of sulphur
They have now produced results they are considering patenting.
Sulphur in fuel is harmful to the environment and restrictions
in this area worldwide have become tougher. In a densely populated
country like India, sulphur pollution is particularly noticeable
through acid rain and smog. At the same time sulphur poisons
the catalyst in vehicles, which can lead to greater emissions
of nitrogen oxides.
Head of the project, SINTEF's Elisabeth Tangstad says that
the project with the Indian scientists started with finding
more environmentally-friendly and less energy-demanding methods
for removing sulphur from petrol. Most refineries worldwide
reduce the sulphur content in petrol through hydrotreating
- a relatively expensive process with a high consumption of
SINTEF and IIP wanted to develop cheaper and less energy-consuming
methods with lower emissions of CO2
and discovered that custom-made porous materials that removed
the sulphur compounds from the fuel were a good alternative.
“In this process, the material removes the sulphur without
a reaction necessarily occurring” - says Tangstad.
The scientists have now designed, produced and tested a lot
of materials on a small scale, based on knowledge about the
properties of the different material components. The most
promising samples have later been up-scaled and sent to IIP,
which has carried out trials in its own laboratory in more
In order for the Indian refineries to utilise the new methods,
flow charts need to be constructed showing how the innovations
can be incorporated into the refinery activities.
Tangstad emphasises that this has been a collaborative project
between India and Norway, with both institutes benefiting
from each other’s background and experiences. In recent years,
SINTEF has hosted several Indian scientists on exchanges.
For more information on SINTEF - Click