Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 17, pp 17156–17167 | Cite as

Sulfur extraction from liquid fuels using trihexyl(tetradecyl)phosphonium tetrafluoroborate: as promising solvent

  • Swapnil Dharaskar
  • Mika Sillanpaa
  • Kiran Kumar Tadi
Research Article


Sulfur extraction from fuel is essential to be done for environmental and industrial point of view. Extractive desulfurization (EDS) is one of the most promising techniques in order to achieve legislative sulfur content requirements. Among numerous extractants and solvents, ionic liquids (ILs) are more capable due to their desirable green solvent properties. This work demonstrated that trihexyl(tetradecyl)phosphonium tetrafluoroborate ([THTDP]BF4) was synthesized, characterized, and employed as extraction solvent for extraction of dibenzothiophene (DBT), thiophene, benzothiophene, and other alkyl-substituted derivatives of sulfur from liquid fuel. Molecular confirmation and purity of synthesized ([THTDP]BF4) were analyzed with FTIR, Raman, NMR, EPR, UV, TG/DSC, and XRD analyses. Also, physical properties of ([THTDP]BF4) were carried out. The effects of extraction time, temperature, sulfur compounds, ultra-sonication, and ([THTDP]BF4) recycling/regeneration on DBT removal from liquid fuel were also examined. DBT removal in n-dodecane was 92.6% using EDS with mass ratio (1:1) in 30 min at 30 °C under the mild reaction conditions. ([THTDP]BF4) could be reused up to ten cycles for sulfur extraction and regenerated for few more cycles with good DBT removal ability. Also, the sulfur extraction from real fuels and multistage extraction performance were tested. The experimental data and results provided in this article discover the remarkable understandings of tetrafluoroborate-based phosphonium ionic liquids as promising solvent for EDS.


Trihexyl(tetradecyl)phosphonium tetrafluoroborate Ionic liquid Fuel Sulfur Extraction 



trihexyl(tetradecyl)phosphonium tetrafluoroborate


ionic liquids


hydrodesulphurization system


extractive desulfurization system


parts per million














partition coefficient


Funding information

This study received financial support from the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, Government of India, India (Grant Number SB/OS/PDF-362/2015-16).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Swapnil Dharaskar
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mika Sillanpaa
    • 1
    • 3
  • Kiran Kumar Tadi
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratory of Green Chemistry, LUT Savo Sustainable TechnologiesLappeenranta University of TechnologyMikkeliFinland
  2. 2.Department of Chemical Engineering, School of TechnologyPandit Deendayal PetroleumGandhinagarIndia
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  4. 4.Institute of ChemistryHebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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