Various carbon blacks differing in particle size and surface area, amongst other properties, were used to prepare carbon black composites by mixing the carbon particles with a poly(furfuryl alcohol) binder and subsequently carbonizing the binder material at elevated temperatures. The textural properties of the composites were found to vary according to the properties of the carbon black substrate. The composites demonstrated promising textural properties (BET surface area 120–730 m2 g*(-1); mesoporosity 50–90%) for use as supports for sulphide catalysts. Molybdenum sulphide catalysts were prepared on the composite supports and evaluated for their thiophene hydrodesulphurization activity at atmospheric pressure. Owing to the inert character of the composite surface, sintering of the Mo phase took place during sulphidation. Therefore, the composites were subjected to several oxidative treatments to increase their surface heterogeneity and thus their affinity towards the deposited Mo phase. Treatment with HNO3 yielded the most promising results.