Sci Rep. 2023 Sep 13;13(1):15134. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-42392-8.
In this study, an efficient organic-inorganic hybrid nanocomposite was designed for deep oxidative/adsorptive removal of dibenzothiophene (DBT) from model and real fuel oils employing surface molecularly imprinted polymer (SMIP) and mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs). On the surface of silanol-functionalized MCM-48-HPW prepared at different 12-tungstophosphoric acid (HPW wt%) as the oxidation catalyst, an imprinted polymethacrylic acid polymer (PMAA) as a selective adsorbent of DBT was formed using different amounts of DBT template. Then, various oxidant/sulfur molar ratios were applied during the desulfurization reactions according to the central composite design (CCD). The successful synthesis of the optimum SMIP-PMAA@MCM-48-HPW nanocomposite was confirmed by FTIR, XRD, N2-adsorption, SEM, TEM, TGA, and NMR techniques. The desulfurization percentage of the model oil reached 98.54% under the optimum conditions, and the catalyst percentage was found to be the most significant parameter for desulfurization efficiency. Comparison experiments showed that the combined role of oxidation and adsorption had an extensive impact on desulfurization efficiency. Under the optimized conditions, 96% DBT from gasoline was removed by the optimum nanocomposite. The optimum nanocomposite showed good stability and could be reused five times without a remarkable decrease in the desulfurization ability.