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Application of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans in Desulfurization of US Coal: 10 L Batch Stirred Reactor Study

Authors: Ashish Pathak, Dong-Jin Kim, S. Singh, H. Srichandan, Byoung-Gon Kim


The desulfurization of coal using biological methods is an emerging technology. The biodesulfurization process uses the catalytic activity of chemolithotrophic acidpohiles in removing sulfur and pyrite from the coal. The present study was undertaken to examine the potential of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans in removing the pyritic sulfur and iron from high iron and sulfur containing US coal. The experiment was undertaken in 10 L batch stirred tank reactor having 10% pulp density of coal. The reactor was operated under mesophilic conditions and aerobic conditions were maintained by sparging the air into the reactor. After 35 days of experiment, about 64% of pyrite and 21% of pyritic sulfur was removed from the coal. The findings of the present study indicate that the biodesulfurization process does have potential in treating the high pyrite and sulfur containing coal. A good mass balance was also obtained with net loss of about 5% showing its feasibility for large scale application.

Keywords: batch reactor, coal desulfurization, pyrite, At.ferrroxidans

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