You cannot turn on a computer or television, without seeing a story about climate change. Our planet is being choked by man-made emissions, and experts spend countless hours and dollars researching ways to reduce this plague, that we continue to bring upon ourselves. Changes have already been made in many industries, with hybrid vehicles, solar powered homes, and products made of recycled goods becoming ever more popular. But there are still huge questions when it comes to manufacturing and industrial fields. Nuclear power plants, steel companies, waste management facilities, coal mines… all industries that have come under fire in recent years, for producing dangerous emissions. The majority of recommendations to reduce these emissions involve cutting back on production, which could potentially have massive economic repercussions. But here is the thing, there is a simple solution, that has existed for decades. [Read more…]
Dimethyl sulfide (DMS), also known as methylthiomethane, is an organosulfur compound. It is a methyl sulfide, in which the sulfur atom is substituted by two methyl groups, with the chemical formula of (CH3)2S. It is a highly flammable straw-colored liquid, with a boiling point of 37 degrees Celsius, or 99 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a compound that is easily recognized by its foul odor, that is often described as “cabbage like”. Unlike many other organosulfur compounds, this disagreeable odor is present in even low concentrations of DMS. Dimethyl sulfide is the product of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) breakdown, and is also the result of bacterial metabolism of methanethiol.
Where is Dimethyl Sulfide Found? [Read more…]
While the long-term impact of the recent steel tariffs is unknown, we here at GCES recognize that there will be an impact on nearly every company we do business with. With so much confusion, and bias, around this hot topic, we created the below article to help break it down a little.
What is steel?
Carbon steel, which accounts for 90% of all steel production, is an alloy that occurs when iron is combined with carbon. It also contains small quantities of silicon, phosphorus, sulfur and oxygen. The iron that makes steel is the 4th most abundant element, making up about 5% of the earth’s crust. It is removed from crust in the form of an ore; the iron is then extracted from the ore by a process known as smelting. Smelting, simply put, happens when you apply heat to an ore, to extract the base metal. Once the smelted iron is combined with carbon, steel is formed. Although steel is made of predominantly iron, it contains 0.03% and 1,075% (depending on grade) carbon, which alone, iron does not. This addition of carbon improves the physical chemical properties of the iron, making it a desirable metal. On top of the physical properties that make steel so versatile, and desirable, it is also considered to be infinitely recyclable. This means it can be melted down, and reused, as many times as needed, without limit.
Because of its high strength, and relatively low cost, steel is one of the most sought after building materials in the world. Used to make everything from weapons, infrastructure, and buildings, to home appliances and automobiles, the steel industry is expected to reach $1.01 trillion in revenue by 2025. [Read more…]
What is Methyl Mercaptan?
Methyl Mercaptan, also known as Methanethiol, is a volatile organic compound known as an organosulfur, because it contains sulfur. Methyl mercaptan is a member of a series of compounds, in which there can be chains of up to 20 carbon-atoms attached to sulfur. The chemical formula for methanethiol is CH3SH; it is classified as a thiol. It is colorless, highly flammable, and has a strong rotten-cabbage-like odor. It is a colorless, low-boiling liquid, that is denser than water. When inhaled, Methyl Mercaptan is very toxic, and the dangerous gas is often overlooked when in low concentrations. It can undergo steam reforming to hydrogen-rich gas over cerium oxide-coated rhodium or aluminum oxide catalyst via the solid-gas reaction, under certain operating conditions. This process has potential use in toxic-waste treatment, such as removal of methanethiol present in industrial-waste off-gas. Because it is derived from decaying organic matter, Methyl Mercaptan is a weak acid, and is reactive with dissolved metals, in aqueous solutions. [Read more…]
What gases are released by landfills?
Landfills consist of a complex mix of gases and VOCs, and are a source of major pollution, and potential revenue… which we will address later in this article. Dangerous gases like methane (CH4), carbon dioxide(CO2), sulfides (SOx), and ammonia, are created by the decomposition and evaporation of organic compounds, as well as chemical reactions between waste components. Methane and carbon dioxide are the most prevalent, making up between 90 and 98% of all gases and VOCs released.
Why are these chemicals a concern?
These gases and VOCs are considered greenhouse gases, and play a huge role in global warming. According to the EPA, in the United States, landfills are the third most prevalent source of methane, and other greenhouse gases. Another risk when dealing with methane is the flammability of the gas, which is incredibly high. When condensed into a small space, methane is considered an explosive, and should be handled with extreme caution. Landfill gas explosions are not uncommon.
In addition to pollution and the risk of exploding, these VOCs pose a serious risk to human health. They have been linked to eye, throat and lung irritation, nausea, headache, nasal blockage, sleeping difficulties, weight loss, chest pain, and even asthma. Some recent studies indicate a connection between air pollution, and Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and slow fetal development. [Read more…]