EGEE 102
Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection

Introduction to Acid Rain and the Ozone


Acid rain is a serious environmental problem around the world, particularly affecting Asia, Europe, and large parts of the U.S. and Canada. The acidic pollutants such as SO2 and NOx are emitted into the environment by combustion of fossil fuels.

Most of the sulfur in any fuel combines with oxygen and forms SO2 in the combustion chamber. This SO2 when emitted into the atmosphere slowly oxidizes to SO3. SO3 is readily soluble in water in the clouds and forms H2SO4 (sulfuric acid).

S+ O 2 S O 2 + 1 2 O 2 (in the atmosphere)S O 3 + H 2 O H 2 S O 4 (sulfuric acid)
Most of the NOx that is emitted is in the form of NO. This NO is oxidized in the atmosphere to NO2. NO2 is soluble in water and forms HNO3 (nitric acid).

NO+ 1 2 O 2 (in the atmosphere)N O 2 + H 2 OHN O 3 (nitric acid)