Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Author's Department


First Advisor

David H. Buchanan


The Illinois State Geological Survey is currently developing a three step coal desulfurization process which depends upon the in-situ generation of catalytic troilite (FeS) by reduction of the pyrite (FeS2) present in the mineral fraction of coal. After catalyst generation, ethanol is added to the system and is dehydrogenated to acetaldehyde and hydrogen which removes organic sulfur as hydrogen sulfide. The research reported in this thesis shows that the process can be improved by the use of dielectric heating in place of thermal heating for catalyst generation and perhaps organic sulfur removal. It is found that pyrite reduction takes place below 350°C at atmospheric pressure under a 10% carbon monoxide atmosphere. The same pyrite reduction can be produced thermally only by heating to 500°C. The lower operating temperatures possible with dielectric heating should improve the three-step desulfurization process by retaining important volatile compounds in the treated coal which are necessary for conventional combustion. XRD analysis of iron sulfides produced both thermally and by microwave heating in this project illustrate that the active catalyst is a form of pyrrhotite of general formula FeS designated pyrrhotite 2C or troilite.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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