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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published online by De Gruyter August 5, 2022

Oxidative desulfurization of model and real fuel samples with natural zeolite-based catalysts: experimental design and optimization by Box–Behnken method

Pardis Arzanypour, Gholamreza Moradi ORCID logo and Pourya Reshadi


In this study, oxidative desulfurization was performed on simulated oil fraction consist of 1000 ppm dibenzothiophene. Cobalt supported on natural zeolite of Kaolin has been used as heterogeneous catalysts. 10% Co/metaKaolin with hydrogen peroxide as oxidant and acetonitrile as extraction solvent have shown excellent performance on desulfurization. Response surface methodology in experimental design and its subset Box–Benken was used to evaluate the performance of the selected catalyst in different operating conditions such as temperature, oxidant to sulfur molar ratio, time and catalyst amount. Also, optimum conditions was obtained are equal to 60 °C, O/S molar ratio (10.8 mol/mol), time (46 min) and catalyst amount 0.04 g with 97.1% sulfur removal. Oxidative desulfurization of model oil containing 1000 ppm of each sulfur component benzothiophene and thiophene was also tested at the optimum conditions, Oxidative desulfurization yield was ordered as DBT > BT > Th. In addition, after four steps consecutive recycle under optimum conditions oxidative desulfurization capacity of 10% Co/metaKaolin catalyst decreased from 97% to 92%, which is still high desulfurization capability. Finally, the performance of 10% Co/metaKaolin catalyst in oxidative desulfurization was evaluated for real oil fractions, gasoline and gasoil that was provided from regional oil refinery with sulfur content of 286 ppm and 7900 ppm, respectively. At the optimum conditions of operating variables desulfurization yield was 58% and 79% of total sulfur removal for gasoline and gasoil respectively with no significant changes in fuels properties.

Corresponding author: Gholamreza Moradi, Catalyst Research Center, Department of Chemical Engineering, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran, E-mail:

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: None declared.

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.


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Received: 2022-02-28
Accepted: 2022-07-16
Published Online: 2022-08-05

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