Re: salvation from tar pits?

From: Kenneth Piers <>
Date: Mon Jun 28 2004 - 11:18:01 EDT

REPLY: I don't at all claim to be an expert on catalytic converters or even on
the process of catalysis in general. But sulfur is a notorious poison for
metallic catalysts and these are the kind that are used in catalytic
converters. The problem (I think) is that sulfur binds more or less
irreversibly to the catalyst surface, thus leaving no "active" surface left for
it to do its catalytic thing. So the new technology would require finding a
material that does not bind sulfur and yet retains a catalytic ability to
oxidize partially burned hydrocarbons, etc. Whether such materials exist or can
be discovered I don't know. Of course, we should hardly ever say never.
ken piers

Ken Piers

"Everything should be as simple as possible - but not simpler." A. Einstein

>>> "George Murphy" <> 6/28/2004 10:15:45 AM >>>
> Related to this was a story in the
> weekend NY Times
> about China's increasing use of high-sulfur oil which is cheaper than
> oil. Burning such fuels in automobiles with catalytic converters ruins the
> converters and growing atmospheric sulfur emissions are leading to sharp
> declines in urban air quality in China.
> It is hard to see any "magic bullets" on the horizon in considering the
> equation.

I don't by any means think that there will always be technological solutions
to all our problems. But as a theorist I can ask naive questions about
technology, such as, "Isn't it possible to develop catalytic convertors that
can deal with high-sulfur fuels?"


Received on Mon Jun 28 13:22:56 2004

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