Shaojun Liu1,2, Xinning Yu1, Guoxin Lin1, Ruiyang Qu1, Chenghang Zheng1, Xiang Gao 1

State Key Laboratory of Clean Energy Utilization, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
Key Laboratory of Low-grade Energy Utilization Technologies and Systems of the Ministry of Education of China, College of Power Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400030, China

Received: July 20, 2018
Revised: September 28, 2018
Accepted: September 29, 2018
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Cite this article:
Liu, S., Yu, X., Lin, G., Qu, R., Zheng, C. and Gao, X. (2019). Insights into the Effect of Adsorption–Desorption Cycles on SO2 Removal over an Activated Carbon. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 19: 411-421.


  • SO2 removal by AC with high ash content (15.92%) was investigated.
  • Most of stored sulfur-containing species released in the form of SO2 below 400°C.
  • Traces of CO were detected, whose abundant release required higher temperatures.
  • Two deactivation pathways during adsorption-desorption cycles were proposed.


The use of an activated carbon (AC) with high ash content (15.92%) for SO2 removal was investigated during adsorption-desorption cycles. Significant deterioration in both dynamic and equilibria adsorption processes during the cycles was observed. To investigate the causes of deactivation, SO2 temperature-programmed desorption (SO2-TPD) experiments were conducted. The results indicated that most of the stored sulfur-containing species were released in the form of SO2 when the temperature was below 400°C. In addition to SO2, traces of CO were detected, but higher temperatures were required for the abundant release of CO. A Fourier-transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR) experiment was used to investigate changes in the oxygen-containing groups, and the results confirmed the formation of stable C-O complexes. These formations were tentatively attributed to the CO precursor’s occupation of active sites. Based on the formation of C-O complexes, two deactivation pathways in the cycles were proposed. The adsorption-desorption cycles also affected the AC ash. The formation of sulfur-containing species in the ash was confirmed through thermodynamic calculation and powder X-ray diffraction.

Keywords: Activated carbon; Adsorption; Desorption; SO2 removal


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