With the increasing need for sustainable energy, biogas has greatly gained interest in the last few years. Originating from the process of anaerobic fermentation, biogas can be used to numerous applications to reduce green house gas emissions and produce clean sustainable energy .
Biogas is typically composed of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), but also contains traces of additional gases, such as hydrogen sulphide (H₂S), ammonia (NH3), hydrogen (H2) and other impurities.
Due to its highly corrosive nature, H₂S needs to be stripped off with upgrading technologies in order to preserve expensive biogas processing equipment. Even with low H₂S concentration, metal corrosion will be slower, but will still occur due to the presence of carbon dioxide .
Here is an introductory video on gas desulphurization from DMT, featuring their own solution: the Sulfurex®.
What are the factors for selecting technologies for H₂S removal? When it comes to evaluating a potential H₂S removal technology, you need to consider three important variables: your site’s conditions, the product gas requirements and the economics .
Every installation is different. Whether for inlet gas flow or operating parameters, your biogas facility has its own specific conditions. The amount of H₂S processed per day, temperature, pressure, oxygen concentration, carbon dioxyde and water content of your system should and will directly influence your decision.
Product Gas Requirements
According to the gas utility you are doing business with, each structure has unique pipeline injection specifications. What are the environmental air permitting regulations? How will SO₂ be released? Make sure to answer these questions before settling in on a solution.
Last but not least, economical benefits. How do I get the most of my investment? Ultimately, it comes down to CAPEX against OPEX tradeoff. A more expansive technology may require less operating and maintenance fees, whereas a cheaper solution could lead to bigger ongoing expenses.
Based on your site parameters, here is a table below to help you select an economical H₂S abatement technology for your application.
As every single biogas upgrading installation requires an H₂S removal solution, there are a great number of technologies available on the market worldwide. Here you will find the best solutions from various BiogasWorld members.
DMT has developed a vast amount of biogas treatment technologies. For the key biogas contaminants, DMT can offer one or a combination of technologies to economically manage them. A technology selection is made by analyzing the mixture of contaminants, the gas flow, the pollution load and the application. By not pushing one technology, DMT can provide the customer with the best solution for that specific project.
The basic principle of the technologies DMT offers to desulfurize gas, is the absorption of H₂S to a liquid. An oxidation process converts the H₂S to elemental sulfur or sulfate. DMT offers a pure chemical process Sulfurex®CR (Chemical Reaction), a biological process Sulfurex®BF (Biotrickling Filter), and a biochemical process Sulfurex®BR (Biological Regeneration) with integrates a bioreactor for the biological regeneration of the solvent.
For more information Sulfurex® technologies, click here.
Highly Efficient H2S Removal from biogas and landfill gas at high uptime enables industries to consistently meet stringent gas quality requirements.
The THIOPAQ® was developed by Paques, in cooperation with universities, research institutes and customers. It can be applied to a wide range of biogas streams containing H₂S and can be combined with all biological anaerobic systems. The ‘caustic’ solution in the THIOPAQ® scrubber is continuously biologically regenerated. In the scrubber, the gas containing
H₂S is brought into contact with the washing water in counter currently. Absorption of H₂S under slightly alkaline conditions (pH 8-9) enables a chemical reaction with hydroxide ions.
Through continuous development Paques is able to provide every customer with a tailor-made gas treatment solution that enables the customer to produce biogas with a very low hydrogen sulfide content at a low O&M cost and to fuel local gas-fired microgrids, or upgrade the gas to biomethane. Additionally, the elemental sulfur produced by the THIOPAQ® can be used as a high-quality fertilizer.
For more information on THIOPAQ® , click here.
After a first pretreatment process, the VALOPACK filtration unit is designed to extract pollutants (H₂S, siloxanes, VOCs) from Biogas before continuing with the upgrading process, using two activated carbon filter tanks.
There is also a 3 µm dust filter located after the activated carbon filters, preventing dust from spreading after load changes.
The type of activated carbon is chosen based on the concentration of each pollutant in the Biogas (dealing specifically with H₂S or VOCs).
For more information on VALOPACK, click here.
Pyro Green-Gas offers two desulfurization processes. The Ferrachel II® Iron chelate process for high gas flows and high inlet hydrogen sulfide concentrations. Dry scrubbing catalyst for low inlet hydrogen sulfide concentrations. In cases where hydrogen sulfide concentrations of less than 100 ppmv are required, a dry scrubbing catalyst stage is required.
Pyro Green-Gas (previously Air Science Technologies) offers many desulfurization processes tailored to balance CAPEX and OPEX for specific gas flows and conditions. Broadly there is dry desulfurization; either via a catalytic redox reaction onto media or adsorption, and there is absorption where the gas contacts a curated absorbing liquor where chelated iron interacts with and removes hydrogen sulfide from the gas. The latter is particularly well suited for large flows and highly sour gas.
For more information Pyro Green-Gas desulfurization systems, click here.
Ferrachel II® Iron Chelate Process
The process operates continuously and only requires a periodical inspection and cleaning of some internal components to ensure optimum efficiency and performance.
For outlet requirements of less than 100 ppmv, the Iron Chelate desulfurization process can be followed by a dry desulfurization step which can bring hydrogen sulfide concentration down to ≤ 4 ppmv.
Dry Scrubbing Catalyst (DSC) Process
The process consists in passing the hydrogen sulfide charged gas through a tower filled with the required amount of active media for the required hydrogen sulfide outlet concentration over the design life of the media.
Generally, two towers are installed with inter connecting piping and valves to operate each tower in a lead or lag mode. This feature allows for the optimal use of the desulfurization media and minimizes the operating cost of the desulfurization process.
The untreated, warm and humid biogas flows through the filter module that is filled with UgnCleanPellets®. The hydrogen sulphide is targeted and completely removed from the raw gas and transformed to elemental sulphur.
Atmospheric oxygen is fed in to allow the filtering material to self-regenerate, while the desulphurisation process is running at the same time. This ensures that the desulphurising capacity of the material is maintained for a long time. When the pellets reach their maximum take-up capacity, the hydrogen sulphide content in the clean gas increases gradually.
For more information on BEKOM H, click here.
The Sulfothane™ process consists of two steps. First it resembles a chemical alkaline scrubber for H₂S . Second the alkaline solution is continuously regenerated in a biological process using aerobic sulphur bacteria.
Sulfothane™ uses a widely applied and well proven technology to treat gas streams containing up to 50,000 ppm H₂S . The scrubber column is operated in counter current mode, which results in very high removal efficiency of H₂S. Even lower than 25 ppm H₂S is possible, exceeding 99%. The process reduces the odour, toxicity and corrosiveness of the biogas, without dilution with air due to a strict separation of biogas and aeration steps.
For more information on SULFOTHANE™ , click here.
Biogas conditioning/cleaning technology (BTS-MPdry) from Biogas & Gases Technologies (BGasTech) is a range of technologies applied for biogas cleaning. It includes: the BTS-Siloxa technology for the removal of siloxanes and the BTS-Sulfure technology for the removal of H2S in biogas. Both are based on dry removal methods.
As a cleaning technology it is based on a combination of removal techniques and has two basic stages.
Stage 1: Coarse. Cooling-condensation.
Stage 2: Fine. Adsorption on activated carbon.
For this purpose, it has a set of interconnected equipment that allows the elimination of moisture content and siloxanes by physical means (thermal and adsorption), halogenated compounds and H2S, as well as reducing the gas temperature to permissible values for engine intake.
For more information on BTS-MPdry, click here.
The BgPur system is a proven solution for biogas treatment from anaerobic digesters and landfill. The system reduces hydrogen sulfide (H₂S) concentrations and converts it to solid elemental sulfur for resale. The system uses a liquid chemical catalyst, compact gas/liquid contactor, and solids removal system and does not consume the chemical catalyst driving the conversion of H₂S to sulfur, minimizing chemical make-up requirements. As a result, operating costs are significantly lower than typical solid sorption processes and the system promotes a stable and predictable H₂S removal process.
For more information BGPUR™, click here.
UGN Umwelttechnik Ltd offers a natural desulphurization adsorbent which is engineered and produced in Germany and already utilized in hundreds Biogas sites worldwide (reference in US available). The adsorbent UgnCleanPellets® is applied in external desulphurization processes and has the property making raw and fine purification process in one step. It is possible, reducing H₂S loads in one purification reactor from ~ 5000 ppm below < 5, depending on gas conditions, composition, and flow.
For more information on UgnCleanPellets®, click here.
AxTrap™ 4000 Series products are based on patented, proprietary mixtures of iron oxides and/or mixed metal oxides – on an inert, inorganic carrier. The result is a particularly robust, granular material in which the metal oxide matrix provides a firmly bound active phase which is non-toxic, non-hazardous, non-pyrophoric and environmentally safe in both fresh and spent condition.
For more information on AxTrap™ 4000 Series, click here.
MICRONOX ON16 is a mixture of iron oxides-hydroxides and other functional oxides specially developed to be added directly into the fermentation reactor This product has been the object of extensive preliminary studies, with successful application in biogas plants. It reacts with hydrogen sulfide to generate iron sulfide and sulfur. Both elements are common components of fertilizers leading to improved properties.
For more information on MICRONOX BIOX, click here.
Notes & Sources
 Cong Xiao et al. (2017, December). Review of desulfurization process for biogas purification. School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Qilu University of Technology, Jinan, Shandong, China.
 Daniel Waineo, DW. (2019, February). H2S Removal from Biogas for RNG and Electricity Projects [H2S Safety Issues]. American Biogas Council. https://americanbiogascouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/H2S-removal.pdf
 Xiao Yuan Chan et al. (2015, February). Membrane gas separation technologies for biogas upgrading. Laval University and Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and Education. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/272423302_Membrane_gas_separation_technologies_for_biogas_upgrading
 BGasTech (March, 2022). Desulfuration of Biogas. Biogas & Gases Technologies. https://bgastech.com/en/desulfuration-of-biogas/
 Joaquín Reina Hernández. (2022). Origin, Effect and Treatments. [Biogas cleaning. Hydrogen sulfide removal]. BGasTech.
 BioEnergy Consult (May, 2022). Methods for Hydrogen Sulphide Removal from Biogas. https://www.bioenergyconsult.com/hydrogen-sulphide-removal-from-biogas/