The demand for clean fuels is increasing throughout the world, with more stringent environmental regulations for transportation fuels including marine fuels, particularly regarding their sulfur content. Moreover, the quality of crude oil and derived petroleum cuts is getting lower while fossil fuels are still in high demand. Heavy oils are characterized by high sulfur content where most sulfur is found in bulky thiophenic structures difficult to remove using conventional high pressure hydrodesulfurization process. However they appeared more reactive in oxidative desulfurization (ODS) process, carried out at mild conditions without hydrogen pressure. This review focuses for the first time on the heavy fuels initially containing more than 0.5 wt.%S and upgraded by the ODS process. Different attractive approaches of the literature towards ODS are reported using homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. Recent developments in ODS assisted with ultrasound technology and the use of ionic liquid to enhance ODS efficiency will be fully detailed and discussed to better understand their viability when applied to high sulfur content, high viscosity, and high boiling point feeds.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited