Hongjian Zhu, Yuan Yao, Rui Wang This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Shandong University, Qingdao 266237, China


Received: August 29, 2020
Revised: September 17, 2020
Accepted: September 17, 2020

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.08.0540  

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Cite this article:

Zhu, H., Yao, Y. and Wang, R. (2020). Comparative Study of the Effects of Various Activation Methods on the Desulfurization Performance of Petroleum Coke. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.08.0540


  • Petroleum coke was used as raw material to prepared activated carbon.
  • Six activation methods were used to prepare activated petroleum coke.
  • The sample activated with KOH/coke ratio of 4:1 works best.
  • The optimal conditions for desulfurization with K-PC were studied.


Petroleum coke, an economical carbonaceous material, has great potential application as activated carbon materials for the removal of SO2. In this study, six common activation methods, including hydrothermal, high temperature, acid, alkali, H2O2 and Cu2+ activation were used to prepare activated petroleum coke. Their desulfurization performance was evaluated by investigating the dynamic SO2 adsorption along with various relevant factors. The results demonstrated that the high-temperature activation could adjust the structure and chemical properties of petroleum coke, and the initial desulfurization efficiency of the obtained sample reach 76.4% with a surface area of 59.0 m2 g-1. The specific surface area of HNO3-PC is up to 247.7 m2 g-1, as a consequence of exhibiting an obviously increased desulfurization performance with the SO2 removal rate above 82%. The sample activated with KOH/coke ratio of 4:1 presented the optimal desulfurization performance with the SO2 removal rate of 96.3% under the optimal conditions. Further comparative investigation on the physicochemical property properties revealed that both optimized texture structure and increased amount of active sites of activated petroleum coke were responsible for the high desulfurization performance. The obtained results demonstrated that activated petroleum coke as a unique carbonaceous material with several favorable properties could distinctly be a promising sorbent for acidic SO2 in industrial flue gas desulfurization.

Keywords: Petroleum coke; Activation; SO2; Adsorbtion; Desulfurization.

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