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Category: Reactions and Processes
Question: Can sulfuric acid be made from pyrite?
Keywords: pyrite,sulfuric,acid,production,feedstock
Answer: Yes, it is a viable feedstock, but not a common one anymore.Up until about 1970, it was widely used as the primary feedstock for sulfuric acid production (about 61% of sulfuric acid came from pyrite). It declined quickly in the 1970's until in 1979, the percentage of sulfuric acid coming from pyrite was down to about 24%. Today, only about 3% of the sulfuric capacity worldwide is from pyrite. Of course, the predominant feedstock now is elemental sulfur. Pyrite feedstocks are typically used in "cold-gas" technologies. Typically, these plants cost about twice as much to construct and about twice as much to run (in energy cost) when compared to a plant based on elemental sulfur. The only places that they're really used is on top of large pyrite deposits where elemental sulfur would have to be imported. Thus, the feedstock (pyrite) would cost much less in this case than importing sulfur.


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