Experimental study and mass transfer modelling for extractive desulfurization of diesel with ionic liquid in microreactors

Nan Jin, Jun Yue, Yuchao Zhao*, Hongying Lü, Chengxiu Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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Conventional hydrodesulfurization technology was limited to treat aromatic heterocyclic sulfur compounds in ultralow-sulfur diesel. Extractive desulfurization (EDS) using ionic liquid (IL) exhibited good performance to address these issues, except for its long extraction time (15-40 min). To address this, microreactor was adopted to intensify the IL-based EDS, where dibenzothiophene was extracted from model diesel (MD) as the continuous phase to 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate as the dispersed phase under segmented flow (which appeared preferably at capillary numbers lower than 0.01). The effects of temperature, residence time and flow rate ratio on the desulfurization efficiency were investigated. The extraction equilibration time could be shortened from more than 15 min in conventional batch extractors to 120 s in microreactors. The extraction process was modeled according to the two-film model applied within a unit cell of the segmented flow, where the mass transfer resistance was considered primarily on the film side of the IL droplet. The mechanism for the improved EDS performance at higher temperatures or larger IL to MD flow ratios was investigated and validated, which was related to the significant increase in the diffusion coefficient or the specific interfacial area. These findings may shed important insights into the precise manipulation of IL-based EDS for a better process design and reactor optimization.
Original languageEnglish
Article number127419
Number of pages13
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Early online date23-Oct-2020
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jun-2021


  • Ionic liquids
  • Extractive desulfurization
  • Microreactor
  • Two-phase flow
  • Mass transfer

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