The performance of desulfurization materials plays a key role in desulfurization technology. In this study, different types of manganese dioxide (MnO2) composites were prepared to improve desulfurization performance. These composites were characterized intensively via SEM, XRD, XPS, and BET. Desulfurization performance was measured through thermogravimetry (TG), and the desulfurization mechanism of different types of MnO2 composite was investigated. Results showed that the desulfurization performances of MnO2 composites are determined by the combined effects of the materials' pore structure, specific surface area, active components and Mn valence contents. The desulfurization performances of high specific surface area MnO2 and porous MnO2 were enhanced on account of their excellent physical structures. The desulfurization performance of alkali metal additive LiOH doped MnO2 improved through the addition of active components. The desulfurization performance of bimetallic oxide MnO2/CeO2 improved through the synergistic effect of bimetallic oxides. The desulfurization performance of carrier type MnO2/NaY improved through the dispersion of MnO2 particles. Among the composites obtained, porous MnO2 revealed the best desulfurization performance, this composite demonstrated an average SO2 capture rate of 0.283 g(SO2)/g(material).h within the first hour of reaction, and its SO2 capture capacity was 0.633 g(SO2)/g(material). (C) 2020 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Energy Institute.