Formation and Control of Sulfur Oxides in Sour Gas Oxy-Combustion: Prediction Using a Reactor Network Model

Dominik Bongartz, Santosh J. Shanbhogue, Ahmed F. Ghoniem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


© 2015 American Chemical Society. Sour natural gas currently requires expensive gas cleanup before it can be used in power generation because it contains large amounts of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2) that entail a low heating value and highly corrosive combustion products. A potential alternative is to use the gas directly in a gas turbine process employing oxy-fuel combustion, which could eliminate the need for gas cleanup while also enabling the application of carbon capture and sequestration, possibly combined with enhanced oil recovery (EOR). However, the exact influence of an oxy-fuel environment on the combustion products of sour gas has not been quantified yet. In this work, we used a reactor network model for the combustor and the gas turbine together with our recently assembled and validated detailed chemical reaction mechanism for sour gas combustion to investigate the influence of some basic design parameters on the combustion products of natural gas and sour gas in CO2 or H2O diluted oxy-fuel combustion as well as in conventional air combustion. Our calculations show that oxy-fuel combustion produces up to 2 orders of magnitude less of the highly corrosive product sulfur trioxide (SO3) than air combustion, which clearly demonstrates its potential in handling sulfur containing fuels. Unlike in air combustion, in oxy-fuel combustion, SO3 is mainly formed in the flame zone of the combustor and is then consumed as the combustion products are cooled in the dilution zone of the combustor and the turbine. In oxy-fuel combustion, H2O dilution leads to a higher combustion efficiency than CO2 dilution. However, if the process is to be combined with EOR, CO2 dilution makes it easier to comply with the very low levels of oxygen (O2) required in the EOR stream. Our calculations also show that it might even be beneficial to operate slightly fuel-rich because this simultaneously decreases the O2 and SO3 concentration further. The flame zone temperature in the combustor as well as the residence times in the flame zone and dilution zone have relatively little impact on SO3 formation and can hence be designed to enable good CO burnout.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7670-7680
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy & Fuels
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 6 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-110-010-01
Acknowledgements: The financial support by Siemens Energy, Inc. is gratefully acknowledged. D.B. thanks the German National Academic Foundation and the German–American Fulbright Commission for predoctoral grants. S.J.S. and A.F.G. where also supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) under the award no. KUS-110-010-01.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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