Development of modified zeolite for adsorption of mixed sulfur compounds in natural gas by combination of ion exchange and impregnation

Young Hoon Cha, Sungyong Mun, Ki Bong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The economic and environmental benefits of natural gas in energy applications are widely known; consequently, the usage of natural gas has increased steadily with increasing environmental regulations in recent years. However, the widespread utilization of natural gas has been limited by regulations that require sulfur compounds to be added to natural gas for leak detection. Even traces of sulfur compounds can permanently poison the catalysts used for natural gas; hence, sulfur compounds should be removed for various natural gas applications. In this study, NaY-zeolites were modified by combining Cu ion-exchange and Na2O or CuO impregnation for adsorptive desulfurization. Adsorption experiments were conducted on gas mixtures containing ppm-level tetrahydrothiophene (THT) and tert-butyl mercaptan (TBM) in CH4 to compare the desulfurization performance of pristine and modified Y-type zeolites. The analysis results show that both Na2O and CuO caused changes in the acid sites and binding energies of metal atoms in the Cu ion-exchanged Y-zeolite. Na2O promoted the adsorption of TBM, while CuO inhibited it. Among the tested samples, the Cu ion-exchanged Y-zeolite containing Na2O showed the most efficient adsorption performance with a 3.97 wt% uptake for TBM, which is 30% higher than that of the Cu ion-exchanged Y-zeolite. The Cu ion-exchanged Y-zeolite containing CuO showed the lowest adsorption ability with a 2.21 wt% uptake for TBM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156634
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2023 May 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the C1 Gas Refinery Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (2018M3D3A1A01055761).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • Adsorption
  • Combined modification
  • Desulfurization
  • Natural gas
  • Zeolite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Surfaces and Interfaces


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of modified zeolite for adsorption of mixed sulfur compounds in natural gas by combination of ion exchange and impregnation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this