Can coal power plants use catalytic converter technology?

19 June 2011

Question

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

Answer

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. It's 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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