Hydrogen sulfide is a toxic and corrosive gas that must be removed from gaseous hydrocarbon streams prior to combustion. This paper describes a gas biodesulfurization process where sulfur-oxidizing bacteria (SOB) facilitate sulfide conversion to both sulfur and sulfate. In order to optimize the formation of sulfur, it is crucial to understand the relations between the SOB microbial composition, kinetics of biological and abiotic sulfide oxidation and the effects on the biodesulfurization process efficiency. Hence, a physiologically based kinetic model was developed for four different inocula. The resulting model can be used as a tool to evaluate biodesulfurization process performance. The model relies on a ratio of two key enzymes involved in the sulfide oxidation process, i.e., flavocytochrome c and sulfide-quinone oxidoreductase (FCC and SQR). The model was calibrated by measuring biological sulfide oxidation rates for different inocula obtained from four full-scale biodesulfurization installations fed with gases from various industries. Experimentally obtained biological sulfide oxidation rates showed dissimilarities between the tested biomasses which could be explained by assuming distinctions in the key-enzyme ratios. Hence, we introduce a new model parameter α to whereby α describes the ratio between the relative expression levels of FCC and SQR enzymes. Our experiments show that sulfur production is the highest at low α values.
- Biological gas desulfurization
- Flavocytochrome c
- Physiologically based kinetics
- Sulfide-quinone oxidoreductase
- Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria