Acid Rain

Acid Rain Introduction Acid rain has become an environmental concern of global importance
within the last decade. With the increasing environmental awareness of the "unhealthy" condition
of our planet earth the concern about acid rain has not lessened. In brief, acid rain is rain with pH
values of less than 5.6. When dealing with acid rain one must study and understand the process of
making Sulfuric acid. In this project we will take an in depth look into the production of sulfuric
acid, some of its uses and the effects of it as a pollutant in our environment. Sulfuric Acid
Industry in Ontario Among the many plants in Ontario where sulfuric acid is produced, there are
three major plant locations that should be noted on account of their greater size. These are: Inco.
- Sudbury Noranda Mines Ltd. - Welland Sulfide - Ontario There are a number of factors which
govern the location of each manufacturing plant. Some of these factors that have to be considered
when deciding the location of a Sulfuric Acid plant are: a. Whether there is ready access to raw
materials; b. Whether the location is close to major transportation routes; c. Whether there is a
suitable work force in the area for plant construction and operation; d. Whether there is sufficient
energy resources readily available; e. Whether or not the chemical plant can carry out its operation
without any unacceptable damage to the environment. Listed above are the basic deciding factors
that govern the location of a plant. The following will explain in greater detail why these factors
should be considered. 1) Raw Materials The plant needs to be close to the raw materials that are
involved in the production of sulfuric acid such as sulfur, lead, copper, zinc sulfides, etc.. 2)
Transportation A manufacturer must consider proximity to transpor-tation routes and the location
of both the source of raw materials and the market for the product. The raw materials have to be
transported to the plant, and the final product must be transported to the customer or distributor.
Economic pros and cons must also be thought about. For example, must sulfuric plants are
located near the market because it costs more to transport sulfuric acid than the main raw
materials, sulfur. Elaborate commission proof container are required for the transportation of
sulfuric acid while sulfur can be much more easily transported by truck or railway car. 3) Human
Resources For a sulfuric acid plant to operate, a large work force will obviously be required. The
plant must employ chemists, technicians, administrators, computer operators, and people in sales
and marketing. A large number of workers will also be required for the daily operation of the
plant. A work force of this diversity is therefore likely to be found only near major centres of
population. 4) Energy Demands Large amounts of energy will also be required for the production
of many industrial chemicals. Thus, proximity to a plentiful supply of energy is often a
determining factor in deciding the plant\'s location. 5) Environmental Concerns Most importantly,
however, concerns about the environment must be carefully taken into consideration. The
chemical reaction of changing sulfur and other substances to sulfuric acid results in the formation
of other substances like sulfur dioxide. This causes acid rain. Therefore, there is a big problem
about sulfuric plants causing damage to our environment as the plant is a source of sulfur
emission leading to that of acid rain. 6) Water Supplies Still another factor is the closeness of the
location of the plants to water supplies as many manufacturing plants use water for cooling
purposes. In addition to these factors, these questions must also be answered: Is land available
near the proposed site at a reasonable cost? Is the climate of the area suitable? Are the general
living conditions in the area suitable for the people involved who will be relocating in the area? Is
there any suggestions offered by governments to locate in a particular region? The final decision
on where the sulfuric acid plant really involves a careful examination and a compromise among all
of the factors that have been discussed above. Producing Sulfuric Acid Sulfuric acid is produced
by two principal processes-the chamber process and the contact process. The contact process is
the current process being used to produce sulfuric acid. In the contact process, a purified dry gas
mixture containing 7-10% sulfur dioxide and 11-14% oxygen is passed through a preheater to a
steel reactor containing a platinum or vanadium peroxide catalyst. The catalyst promotes the
oxidation of