This paper relates to the development of a new totally catalytic process aimed at recovering sulphur from H2S containing gas streams with a performance as high as 99.9%. This process is based on the particular development of a catalytic step able to oxidise H2S directly into sulphur in the presence of air, at a temperature below sulphur dew point, even below sulphur freezing point. Consequently, it involves the implementation of at least two reactors operating alternatively according to the cyclic succession of the two following sequences:
an adsorption sequence where the sulphur is formed from the oxidation of H2S and trapped within the catalyst structure;
a regeneration sequence at a higher temperature (around 300°C) where the trapped sulphur is recovered from the catalyst.
This paper provides details concerning the reaction data acquired experimentally with the newly developed catalyst in view of the further modeling of the H2S oxidation process. The industrial performances of this catalyst under particularly low temperature conditions should shortly be confirmed through a pilot demonstration plant due to start up mid 1998 in the South of France.