Research, Technology

Mankind is waiting for another crisis - what will the lack of sulfur lead to?

The word "crisis" has recently become, perhaps,one of the most mentioned in the daily news bulletins. After all, the crisis has recently affected a variety of areas of human activity. It is most acutely felt in the energy, food and even semiconductor markets. Moreover, as practice shows, one problem entails another. A recent study by British scientists confirms this. According to them, in the near future humanity may face another global problem. And, no matter how paradoxical it may sound, it is associated with the gradual abandonment of fossil energy resources. The fact is that a decrease in the consumption of oil and oil products will lead to a shortage of sulfur. But why is it so important for humanity and what threatens sulfur deficiency in the world?

There is plenty of sulfur in the world at present, but it may not be in the future

Content

  • 1 How sulfur deficiency is associated with the rejection of petroleum products
  • 2 Why does humanity need sulfur
  • 3 What will sulfur deficiency mean for humanity?
  • 4 Is it possible to compensate for the lack of sulfur

How sulfur deficiency is associated with the rejection of petroleum products

Gas and oil contain a large amount of sulfur - a few percent by weight.
Therefore, before using oil or gas,they must be cleaned of sulfur. If this is not done, a huge amount of sulfur dioxide, a poisonous gas that poisons the air, will be released into the atmosphere. This is such an aggressive substance that even equipment at oil refineries fails upon contact with it.

As you may have guessed, sulfur isa by-product of oil production and gas purification. About 70 million tons of sulfur are produced annually in the world. Therefore, at present it is cheap and is not even consumed in full. In warehouses, whole mountains of a characteristic yellow color gradually grow. However, if the production of petroleum products decreases, the surplus of sulfur will gradually turn into its deficit.

Before use, oil and natural gas must be purified from sulfur.

Why does humanity need sulfur

According to University College staffLondon in the Geographical Journal, the decline in oil and gas consumption will lead to an even more serious food crisis than expected. The fact is that sulfur is the main raw material for the production of sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid is used for the production of fertilizers, which are so necessary for mankind.

If there is a shortage of fertilizers in the world, thecrop yield. This, in turn, will lead not only to a significant rise in the price of products, but also to an increase in the area of ​​arable land. We recently talked about how our planet is already gradually turning into a giant farm.

Sulfur is essential for the production of agricultural fertilizers

What will sulfur deficiency mean for humanity?

To increase the area of ​​arable land,humanity will have to sacrifice forests, wild meadows, reserves, etc. This will lead to even greater problems related to climate change. In addition, it should be taken into account that with the growth of areas sown with agricultural crops, it will be necessary to increase water consumption. In conditions when this resource is already not enough, it will be almost impossible to provide irrigation for all fields. For example, in the United States this year, some states will have to abandon the irrigation of fields due to a drop in the water level in the Colorado River.

However, more agrochemicals will be needed,which will protect crops from pests, weeds, etc. The fields will be treated with more herbicides and pesticides. This will not only affect the environment, but also human health. To summarize all of the above, we can say that all the problems that humanity has already faced will significantly worsen.

Mass mining of sulfur will cause serious damage to the environment

Is it possible to compensate for the lack of sulfur

It would seem that if a smaller amount of sulfur wouldto produce oil refineries, why is it impossible to organize its purposeful extraction? Of course, it is possible to do this, for example, to obtain it from sulfide ores, or even to extract native sulfur. However, all the technologies that exist today are extremely unfriendly.

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Perhaps in the future it will be possible to highlight usefulelements from wastewater. However, this technology is currently underdeveloped. It follows that in an attempt to improve the environment and reduce the effects of global warming by abandoning fossil energy sources, humanity may face even more serious problems that offset all the benefits of such a solution.

Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.change something. However, before completely switching to renewable energy sources, humanity still has a lot of problems to solve. And you need to start working on them now.