, Volume 32, Issue 10, pp 22–29 | Cite as

Market Opportunities for Austenitic Stainless Steels in SO2 Scrubbers

  • Harold T. Michels
Technical Article


Recent U.S. federal legislation has created new opportunities for SO2 scrubbers because all coals, even low-sulfur western coals, will probably require scrubbing to remove SO2 from gaseous combustion products. Scrubbing, the chemical absorption of SO2 by vigorous contact with a slurry—usually lime or limestone—creates an aggressive acid-chloride solution. This presents a promising market for pitting-resistant austenitic stainless steels, but there is active competition from rubber and fiberglass-lined carbon steel. Since the latter are favored on a first-cost basis, stainless steels must be justified on a cost/performance or life-cost basis. Nickel-containing austenitic alloys are favored because of superior field fabricability. Ferritic stainless steels have little utility in this application because of limitations in weldability and resulting poor corrosion resistance.

Inco corrosion test spools indicate that molybdenum-containing austenitic alloys are needed. The leanest alloys for this application are 316L and 317L. Low-carbon grades of stainless steel are specified to minimize corrosion in the vicinity of welds. More highly alloyed materials may be required in critical areas.

At present, 16,000 MW of scrubber capacity is operational and 17,000 MW is under construction. Another 29,000 MW is planned, bringing the total to 62,000 MW. Some 160,000 MW of scrubber capacity is expected to be placed in service over the next 10 years. This could translate into a total potential market of 80,000 tons of alloy plate for new power industry construction in the next decade. Retrofitting of existing power plants plus scrubbers for other applications such as inert gas generators for oil tankers, smelters, municipal incinerators, coke ovens, the pulp and paper industry, sulfuric acid plants, and fluoride control in phosphoric acid plants will add to this large market.


Ferritic Stainless Steel Crevice Corrosion Localize Attack Waste Heat Recovery System Type 316L Stainless Steel 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    “SO2 Removal from Stack Gases—A Special Report,” Power, 1974, PS-1.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J.W. Sawyer, “A Skeptical Evaluation of the Sulfur Problem,” J. Metals, 29(5) (1977) p. 11–17.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    N.R. Passow, “U.S. Environmental Regulations Affecting the Chemical Process Industries,” Chemical Engineering, November 20, 1978, p. 173.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    “EPA Issues New Pollution Standards,” Energy Daily, 6 (176), September 1978.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    R.I. Jaffee, “Metallurgical Problems and Opportunities in Coal-Fired Power Plants,” Met. Trans., 10A, February 1979, p. 139.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    R.E. Balzhizer, “Energy Options to the Year 2000,” Chemical Engineering, 1977, p. 73.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Energy Daily, June 12, 1978, p. 2.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Energy Daily, June 9, 1978, p. 3.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    B.A. Laseke and T.W. Devitt of PEDC Environmental, “Status of Flue Gas Desulfurization in the United States,” preprint from the Fifth Symposium on Flue Gas Desulfurization, sponsored by the U.S. EPA, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 4–8, 1979.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    EPRI Journal, 5, June/July 1977, p. 54. Air/Water Pollution Report, 16 (10), March 6, 1978, p. 91.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    E.S. Kopecki and C.R. McDaniel, “Corrosion Minimized/Efficiency Enhanced in Wet Limestone Scrubbers,” Power Engineering, April 1976, p. 86–89.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    D.M. Berger, “Coatings for Power Plants,” Power Engineering, April 1976, p. 90.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    E.C. Hoxie and G.W. Tuffnell, “A Summary of Inco Corrosion Tests in Power Plant Flue Gas Scrubbing Processes,” Symposium on Resolving Corrosion Problems in Air Pollution Control Equipment, sponsored by APCA, IGCI, and NACE, 1976.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    H.R. Copson, “Effect of Composition on Stress-Corrosion Cracking of Some Alloys Containing Nickel,” in Physical Metallurgy of Stress Corrosion Fracture, T.N. Rhodin, ed., Interscience Publishers, New York, 1959, p. 451–456.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    H.T. Michels and E.C. Hoxie, “How to Rate Alloys for SO, Scrubbers,” Chemical Engineering, June 5, 1978, p. 161.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wet Scrubber Newsletter, 37, July 31, 1977.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    EPA Utility FGD Survey, August-September, 1978, EPA-600/7-79-022a, January 1979.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harold T. Michels
    • 1
  1. 1.International Nickel Company, Inc.New York

Personalised recommendations