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A study of sulfur functionalities in fossil fuels using destructive- (ASTM and Py-GC/MS) and non-destructive- (SEM-EDX, XANES and XPS) techniques

AuthorsOlivella, Maria Angels; Vairavamurthy, M.A.; Palacios, J.; Río Andrade, José Carlos del
KeywordsOrganic sulfur
X-ray spectroscopy
Sulfur-rich kerogens
Issue Date2002
CitationFuel 81:405-411 (2002)
AbstractA set of Spanish coals and oil shales were studied using destructive and non-destructive techniques to identify the functionalities of the sulfur compounds. The selected samples included organic-sulfur-rich Spanish lignites mined in the Mequinenza, Utrillas and Calaf basins; calcareous source-rocks from Organyà and sulfur-rich oil shales from Ribesalbes. Using analytical pyrolysis coupled to gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, we estimated the ratio Sorg/C in these coals and oil shales, and compared them with those obtained by the ASTM method D2492. Also, a scanning electron microscope (SEM) coupled to an energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDX) allowed the direct determination of organic sulfur content in coals. Two major non-destructive techniques, XANES and XPS, were used to investigate sulfur functionalities, such as pyritic, sulfidic, thiophenic, sulfoxide, sulfone, sulfonate and sulfate forms. The study shows that sulfur characterization in coal is not without difficulties and no method is exempt from problems and the introduction of possible artifacts.
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