COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State University engineers have found a way to use methane to remove toxic nitric oxide emissions from the stack gases of coal-burning power plants.
This new method of catalytically reducing nitric oxide with methane removes up to 100 percent of nitric oxide from stack gases in a safer and less expensive way than any currently available.
Nitric oxide is a common byproduct of combustion, and cars and fossil-fuel burning power plants are two chief sources of the molecule. Once released, nitric oxide reacts with oxygen to produce nitric acid -- a main component of acid rain -- and depletes ozone in the upper layers of the stratosphere.
"Although the technology exists to reduce nitric oxide emissions, it is not a problem-free technology by any stretch of the imagination," said Umit Ozkan, professor of chemical engineering at Ohio State.
In a recent issue of the journal Catalysis Today, Ozkan and her graduate students, Junko Mitome and Enrique Aceves, described a method that may provide a better way.
Currently, plants that produce nitric oxide inject ammonia into their exhaust gases to convert the pollutant into nitrogen and water. A vanadium-oxide-based catalyst helps the chemical conversion take place.
But ammonia is expensive and difficult to handle, Ozkan said. It is
highly corrosive, and toxic if released. Also, if the temperature
inside a smokestack climbs too high, the ammonia ma
Contact: Umit S. Ozkan
Ohio State University