Researchers believe that as the world decarbonizes, humanity may face a new problem.
Sulfuric acid is a key chemical in today's industrial society, and the world's drive to develop environmentally friendly technologies will force humanity to face a new crisis – this time a resource one, writes Scitech Daily.
New data collected by researchers from University College London. Scientists have come to the conclusion that in the near future, if the situation is not changed, we will experience a shortage of sulfuric acid – in less than 20 years, the demand for it will almost double.
It should be noted that sulfuric acid in the modern world is actively used for the manufacture of phosphorus fertilizers, lithium-ion batteries, as well as the extraction of cobalt and nickel necessary for the transition to a “green economy”.
Currently, the main share of sulfur supplies is a waste product from the processing of crude oil and natural gas, thus minimizing emissions of gaseous dioxide, protecting the planet from acid rain. It turns out a vicious circle – humanity needs to abandon fossil fuels in order to avoid drastic climate change. However, in the longer term, we will face a shortage of sulfuric acid, which is necessary for the transition to more environmentally friendly technologies.
Scientists believe that one of the ways to solve the problem of lack of sulfuric acid may be to increase its direct extraction. Which, in turn, will cause even more serious problems.
As a result, scientists have come to the conclusion that it is necessary now to start developing inexpensive, but environmentally friendly methods for extracting elemental sulfur. In the future, these developments will help the world avoid a resource crisis.