A Reaction Kinetics Study on Benzene Oxidation in the Claus Process by Sulfur Monoxide

Abhijeet Raj, Preethika Thiraviam, Mirella Elkadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The Claus process is used in natural gas processing plants to treat H2S-rich acid gas to recover sulfur, but the process suffers from catalytic deactivation when aromatic contaminants such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene isomers (collectively called as BTEX) are present in the acid gas feed. To safeguard the catalytic reactors, it is desired to oxidize aromatic contaminants in the furnace that are present upstream of the catalytic reactors in the process by oxidants present in it. This work develops a reaction mechanism and evaluates the reaction kinetics for the oxidation of phenyl radical by SO using CBS-QBS for reaction energetics and RRKM and transition state theory for reaction kinetics. The mechanism explores the possible products that are formed from the barrierless addition of SO on phenyl through the O atom as well as through the S atom. The exothermicity of the addition reaction is higher when the addition of SO on the aromatic structure takes place through the S atom. The major products formed from phenyl oxidation by SO are cyclopentadienyl, cyclopentadienethiol and thiopyran radicals. A remarkable similarity between the pathways for phenyl radical oxidation by O2 and its oxidation by SO at high temperatures is observed. The proposed reactions and their rate constants are used to conduct reactor simulations to determine the important reactions that contribute to the formation of major products during phenyl-SO reactions and the temperatures suitable for benzene oxidation by SO under process conditions similar to the Claus furnace.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)1013-1025
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Feb 2023


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