Phillips Petroleum has developed a more economical way to reduce the sulfur content of diesel fuel, according to published reports.

Called “S Zorb SRT for diesel,” Ward’s Engine and Vehicle Technology Update said the technology is based on use of a regenerable sorbent requiring nearly zero net hydrogen consumption. That eliminates the need to produce hydrogen employed in traditional hydrotreating of fuel to remove the sulfer.

As an additional advantage, the sorbent material can be regenerated while the unit is operating, allowing for prolonged run times between shutdowns.

Like Phillips’ S Zorb SRT for gasoline, S Zorb SRT for diesel significantly lowers sulfur content in diesel fuels by using a proprietary refining process.

Although S Zorb SRT for diesel is not available for licensing, laboratory test runs show that very low sulfur levels are achievable at significantly lower pressures than conventional hydrotreating processes. The technology is expected to help minimize capital costs and everyday operating expenses while achieving targeted product quality. This is good news for refiners who face new EPA rules for low-sulfur diesel fuel starting in 2006-7, and for diesel engine makers hoping to see increased demand in light trucks. “Test results indicate that this advanced process will help refiners meet current and future sulfur regulations in Europe and North America,” said John Mihm, Phillips’ senior vp of technology and product development. He said the company has placed the development of the technology on a fast track.