This study aimed to analyze the environmental impacts of the oxidative desulfurization (ODS) process catalyzed by metal-free reduced graphene oxide (rGO) through life cycle assessment (LCA). The environmental impacts study containing the rGO production process, the ODS process, the comparison of different oxidants and solvents was developed. This study was performed by using ReCiPe 2016 V1.03 Hierarchist midpoint as well as endpoint approach and SimaPro software. For the production of 1 kg rGO, the results showed that hydrochloric acid (washing), sulfuric acid (mixing), hydrazine (reduction) and electricity were four main contributors in this process, and this process showed a significant impact on human health 14.21 Pt followed by ecosystem 0.845 Pt and resources 0.164 Pt. For the production of 1 kg desulfurized oil (400 ppm), main environmental impacts were terrestrial ecotoxicity (43.256 kg 1,4-DCB), global warming (41.058 kg CO2), human non-carcinogenic toxicity (19.570 kg 1,4-DCB) and fossil resource scarcity (13.178 kg oil), and the main contributors were electricity, diesel oil and acetonitrile. The whole ODS process also showed a greatest effect on human health. For two common oxidants hydrogen peroxide and oxygen used in ODS, hydrogen peroxide showed a greater impact than oxygen. On the other hand, for three common solvents employed in ODS, N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone had a more serious impact on human health followed by acetonitrile and N,N-dimethylformamide. As such, LCA results demonstrated the detailed environmental impacts originated from the catalytic ODS, hence elucidating systematic guidance for its future development toward practicality.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.