Commercialization of cobalt promoted molybdenum disulfide hydrodesulfurization unsupported catalyst

Juan Hilario Leal, University of Texas at El Paso


Catalysis is a key player in the petroleum refining process. Our focus is primarily on the improvement of a commercial HDS (HydroDeSulfurization) hydrotreating catalyst. The commercial catalyst sold today is cobalt promoted molybdenum supported on γ-alumina. Our aim is to work with Porocel Industries LLC to produce an unsupported, cobalt promoted, molybdenum disulfide catalyst by improving on previous work conducted by Dr. Brenda Torres. The catalysts (B3& B5) developed by Dr. Torres were reported to be highly active on real feedstocks and were produced via hydrothermal process. Oxidic Mo, and H2S were used to make an ammonium tetrathiomolybdate precursor that was added to a Co salt, which underwent decomposition in the hydrothermal reactor. The ultimate goal for Porocel is to commercialize the material and in pursuance of the hydrothermal process would have to be optimized for industry scale up. In order not to infringe on current catalyst manufacturing process patents, the process was carefully adapted to a novel synthesis method, ultimately resulting in lower temperatures, less time, lower pressure and full sulfidation using elemental sulfur in lieu of H2S. The synthesized catalyst was characterized with powder X-ray diffraction, SEM, STEM, EDS, and BET surface area analysis. Catalytic testing was conducted using a Parr reactor setup to model the hydrodesulfurization of a petroleum feedstock. The sulfur-containing molecule used in the model was DBT (DiBenzoThiophene) and its conversion to either biphenyl or cyclohexylbenzene was observed via GCMS analysis.

Subject Area

Chemical engineering|Petroleum engineering

Recommended Citation

Leal, Juan Hilario, "Commercialization of cobalt promoted molybdenum disulfide hydrodesulfurization unsupported catalyst" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10118182.