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Control of hydrogen sulphide emissions using zinc oxide nanoparticles



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Emission of hazardous gases such as hydrogen sulphide (H2S) by a variety of industrial processes and as a result of agricultural activities has become an issue of great concern over the years. The control of these gases is needed to ensure public safety, to protect the environment, and lastly to comply with occupational and environmental regulations. Several techniques including biological and physicochemical methods have been applied to remove these gases from contaminated air streams. In this work, Zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles were used to adsorb H2S gas at ambient temperatures. The effects of H2S concentration (80-1700 mg L-1), nanoparticle size (18, 80-200 nm), gas flow rate (200 and 450 mL min-1), temperature (1-41C) and adsorbent quantity (0.2-1.5 g) were investigated in the laboratory scale. A semi-pilot system was also developed and used to treat H2S emission from stored swine manure. The results show that when H2S concentration was increased the adsorption capacities (both breakthrough and equilibrium) increased and the nanoparticles reached the saturation state faster. When nanoparticles of different sizes were tested, it was observed that 80-200 nm particles got saturated with H2S faster than 18 nm particles. The adsorption capacities were higher with 18 nm particles than those with 80-200 nm. Temperatures did not have an effect on how fast the nanoparticles got saturated and on breakthrough adsorption capacity, but equilibrium adsorption capacity increased due to increase in temperature. The breakthrough and equilibrium adsorption capacities increased with increased quantity of nanoparticles. BET isotherm described the equilibrium data with higher accuracy as compared to other adsorption isotherms which were tested. Semi-pilot scale tests proved the effectiveness of 18 nm ZnO nanoparticles in capture of H2S emitted from stored swine manure. For an experimental period of approximately 100 minutes the level of H2S was reduced from an average initial value of 235.785.2 mg L-1 to a negligible level (an average value of 0.26 mg L-1) corresponding to an H2S removal of at least 99%. Semi pilot tests also showed that 18 nm ZnO nanoparticles were able to capture about 74% of NH3 that passed through the adsorption column.



Nanoparticles, adsorption, hydrogen sulphide, adsorption isotherm, emission control, semi-pilot scale system



Master of Environment and Sustainability (M.E.S.)


School of Environment and Sustainability


Environment and Sustainability


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