Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

Definition - What does Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) mean?

Sulfur Dioxide is a colorless toxic gas which is produced when any fuel or any product containing sulfur compounds is burnt. When sulfur dioxide is produced, it produces a sharp and choking smell. This gas is the primary source of causing acid rain. When the sulfur dioxide mixes with the moisture in the sky, it makes the water droplets acidic which falls back to earth in the form of acid rain.

Petropedia explains Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

In order to protect the environment from sulfur dioxide, crude oil is treated for the removal of sulfur in the refineries so that the petroleum products once produced contain very low or no sulfur content. Thus, while burning such fuels, sulfur dioxide production is minimum and thus do not affect the environment much. However, sulfur free petroleum products are expensive, but as per the environmental laws, it is mandatory to use sulfur free fuels.

The petroleum products that are produced as residue of premium petroleum products such as bitumen, asphalt, etc., have higher sulfur content and thus are low priced. They are widely used in the making of coal tar, charcoal for road constructions.

Sulfur dioxide causes acid rains which in turn affect the industrial infrastructure (equipment, structure) and rocks such as limestone. The rivers and lakes also become acidic due to acid rain and damage aquatic life.

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