Subcritical aqueous ethanol was utilized to reduce total sulfur in Morupule coal. The ratio of ethanol to water, extraction time and temperature were examined in a Box–Behnken design. The optimal conditions for desulfurization were extraction with 90 % ethanol for 10 minutes at 129 °C and 105 bars. A 79 % reduction in total sulfur was achieved.
Coal combustion greatly contributes to global emissions of toxic gases into the atmosphere, with sulfur emissions as one of the prominent pollutants in addition to carbon dioxide. Nevertheless, Botswana utilizes Morupule's sub-bituminous coal with average sulfur and ash contents, as determined in this study being 1.9 and 24.4 % by weight with an average calorific value of 22 MJ Kg−1 to generate electricity. We report an optimized extraction method for reducing total sulfur in Morupule coal from 1.9±0.2 to 0.43±0.02 wt.% at optimum conditions of ethanol/water (90/10, v/v %) at 129 °C (105 bars) in 10 minutes. A Box–Behnken experimental design was employed to select the optimal conditions of temperature (100–180 °C), water proportion in ethanol (10–90, v/v %) and extraction time (10–30 minutes), thus reducing the total sulfur under these mild conditions compared to conventional extraction. The optimized conditions were however not efficient in removing ash.Zum Volltext