Microwave-Induced Plasma Torch for Thermal Decomposition of H2S into Hydrogen and Sulfur

  • Naji Amira

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a naturally occurring gas in the oil and gas production and processing industry. However it is also produced from human waste and can be found in sewage treatment and solid waste disposal facilities. Hydrogen sulfide is a very toxic gas with a rotten egg odor and can't be flared to the atmosphere. The conventional treatment method for H2S is the Claus process, which produces sulfur and water by the net reaction: 3H2S + 3/2O2 à 3/2S2 + 3H2O. This results in a loss of the valuable potential product hydrogen (H2) which is converted into water and low grade steam. H2S would be more economically valuable if both hydrogen and sulfur products could be recovered. Based on standard heats of formation analysis, the theoretical energy required to produce hydrogen from H2S dissociation is only 20.6 kJ/mol H2 as compared to 63.2 kJ/mol H2 for steam methane reforming and 285.8 kJ/mol H2 for water electrolysis. Therefore thermal decomposition of H2S presents an energy efficient and potentially low-cost hydrogen production method. Among the many thermal decomposition methods that have been explored in the literature, Micro-Wave (MW) plasma dissociation of H2S prevails as the method of choice to attain the best conversion and energy efficiency. Equilibrium and chemical kinetics simulations have been carried out on the Chemkin-Pro software and they support these last findings. In addition an instrumented MW plasma torch experimental apparatus has been designed and ordered from the US and should arrive to Masdar Institute during Q3 of 2011. Experimental design and chemical kinetics simulations of the MW plasma torch decomposition of H2S for hydrogen and sulfur production are therefore presented here.
Date of Award2011
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorMohamed Sassi (Supervisor)


  • Microwave Integrated Circuits

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