Removing sulphur moieties from natural gas and refined petroleum products
Synthesis of polyester precursors
Production of aldehydes from alkenes in the OXO reaction
Other industrial reactions.
Cobalt contributes to a greener society by acting as a catalyst in desulphurisation reactions. These reactions remove sulphur from natural gas and from refined petroleum products, such as petrol (or gasoline), diesel, kerosene fuels and fuel oils used in automotive vehicles, aircraft, ships, gas or oil burning power plants and residential and industrial furnaces. It is estimated that for every ton of cobalt applied as a catalyst mixture contributes to a sulphur oxides (SOx) emission reduction of 25,000 tons and a nitrogen oxides (NOx) emission reduction of 750 tons.
Catalysts lower the activation energy of a chemical reaction therefore reducing the amount of energy needed in industrial processes.
Cobalt catalysts also lead to a greener society by lowering the activation energy (e.g. pressure, temperature) needed for industrial processes, such as the creation of recyclable plastics. Less energy therefore needs to be used to obtain the same yield, which in turn means less carbon emissions. Without catalysts, industry would not be able to hit the desired 20-20 European Commission green-house emission-reduction targets.
By definition, a catalyst is not consumed in a chemical reaction, but there are always “in process” losses as well as losses in the catalyst recovery, recycling and operations.
Importance of cobalt as a catalyst
Cobalt can be considered impossible to substitute as a catalyst due to the following properties:
The oxidation-reduction properties of cobalt allow for different valences of I, II or III to be demonstrated. Electrons can be easily transferred between these states, speeding up reactions.
Due to the different valences cobalt has a great ability in accepting atoms from other molecules and forming complex molecules
In solution, cobalt chemicals can react to form more than one ion to exhibit catalysis.
Solid cobalt compounds have vacancies within their crystal lattice allowing for catalysis.