A traditional sulfur-adsorption bed uses microwave energy to remove, or desorb, captured impurities. Conventional adsorption beds use heat and sometimes vacuum to cleanse the bed of sorbents; the process is energy-intensive and can reduce sorbent life. By using microwaves, the new technology desorbs the captured impurities from the bed with little or no change in temperature.

An oscillating electromagnetic field of microwave radiation interacts directly with molecules adsorbed onto the sorbent surface from the fuel/inlet liquid or gas stream. Polar or polarizable molecules on the sorbent — such as those containing sulfur — become excited, detach from the sorbent bed, and are flushed away. During regeneration, the bed adsorbs relatively little energy, and there is very little sensible heating of either the inlet stream or the sorbent bed.

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