Science Questions

Can coal power plants use catalytic converter technology?

Sat, 18th Jun 2011

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Coal Gasification and Carbon Capture


Doug Throp asked:

Do coal or natural gas powered power plants use catalytic converter technology to reduce the pollution of their exhaust? If not, why not?


Joe -   Well, catalysts generally don't change chemistry.  They only drive it at accelerated speeds to the same end.  When a power plant operates perfectly it does achieve complete combustion.  So, a catalytic converter may be good for making carbon monoxide into truly carbon dioxide.  Its still carbon dioxide at the end of it so you can't clean up with that fashion.  You can only change it from a gaseous form into a mineralised form or into some other form.  You have to change state.


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