Sulfur Technologies

Our proprietary technologies, developed from the utilisation of elemental sulfur, have massive potential for the removal of ‘soft’ metal ions such as mercury and gold. We have developed a robust and flexible platform for the implementation of our technology.

Research at the University of Liverpool, in the Thomas Hasell research group has demonstrated the vast potential of elemental sulfur in the use of ion-exchange. It is possible to create potent and inexpensive ion-exchange resins from elemental sulfur. ThioTech Ltd seeks to commercialise the fruits of the research that was performed at the University of Liverpool.

Elemental sulfur is produced in massive quantities as a by-product of the oil-refining process. When crude oil is extracted from deposits it often contains a fraction of sulfur in the mix. When the sulfur content of the oil is found to be above 0.5 % (by weight) the oil is then said to be ‘sour’. Sours oils make for bad fuels and can contribute to negative ecological effects and must be refined.

The refining process is highly effective and produces elemental sulfur as a product. This sulfur then finds downstream usage in the production of fertilizers and sulfuric acid, among other things. However, despite there being some use for the sulfur not all of it is used. This results in large amounts of elemental sulfur being stored.

As global consumption of oil increases there will be drive to use these ‘sour’ oil sources, especially when the more ‘sweet’ oil sources become less abundant. Therefore, it is likely that the global production of elemental sulfur will increase in the future, exacerbating this excess sulfur problem.

The three main approaches for the implementation of our technology come under the branches of bulk Sulfur Polymers, Sulfur Polymer Coatings, and Activated Sulfur Carbons.

Sulfur Polymers

Sulfur polymers are our broadest category of materials. We are able to produce a large variety of different polymers using the inverse vulcanisation reaction. These materials are generally poorly wetting, chemically resistant and able to remove soft metal ions from solution. The properties of the polymers are able to be tuned, from soluble to insoluble and the mechanical properties as well.

Research on these polymers has been selected for publication in many scientific journals, with a myriad of applications researched.

Sulfur Coatings

By carefully tuning the properties of bulk sulfur polymers we are able to produce polymers that can be coated onto a large variety of substrates through various means.

The key product that has resulted from our patent protected process is sulfur polymer coated silica which is highly effective for the removal of mercury and gold from solution.

Sulfur Carbons

Sulfur carbons are our flagship material. Produced in a patent protected process they have an incredible ability to remove both gold and mercury from solution to almost undetectable amounts.