Moving Science

Southern Research to Construct and Operate SCR Catalyst Test Facility in Alabama

November 21, 2011

Independent SCR catalyst testing facility to open mid-2012

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Southern Research Institute, an independent, not-for-profit scientific research organization headquartered in Birmingham, today announced plans to construct and operate a new facility designed to test selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalysts used by the utility industry to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Construction of this SCR Catalyst Test Facility is expected to be complete by mid-2012. Southern Research will then be able to offer services to utility companies that use catalysts for emissions reduction, as well as other organizations that regenerate the catalysts and provide catalyst management services for utilities. All testing will be done in accordance with industry-accepted standard protocols for the tests. The testing services offered will include:

  • Measurement of SCR catalyst de-NOx activity under conditions that match industrial use,
  • Measurement of SO2-to-SO3 conversion under the same conditions,
  • Inspection of catalyst materials to detect any warping or other changes in dimensions,
  • Analysis of the catalyst surface for contamination using x-ray fluorescence; and,
  • Measurement of catalyst specific surface area and pore-size distribution.

“By providing these measurements to utilities and others, we will function as an independent evaluator of catalyst performance, so catalyst users do not have to depend on the manufacturer to assess catalyst performance,” said Robert Dahlin, Director of Power Systems and Environmental Research-Alabama Operations. “It is important for utilities and other users to maintain good catalyst performance in order to continuously meet strict regulations on the emissions of NOx.”

NOx is a byproduct of the combustion of coal and other fossil fuels. When emitted into the atmosphere from power plants, automobiles, and other sources, NOx is converted to nitric acid, a primary ingredient of acid rain. NOx also participates in atmospheric photochemical reactions that produce smog and ozone. Acid rain, smog, and ozone, along with NOx itself, have adverse health and environmental impacts that have led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the emissions of NOx.

About Southern Research

Southern Research Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) scientific research organization that conducts advanced engineering research in materials, systems development, environment and energy, and preclinical drug discovery and development. Southern Research has more than 550 scientific and engineering staff that support clients and partners in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, defense, aerospace, environmental and energy industries. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., Southern Research operates facilities in Wilsonville, Ala., Frederick, Md., and Durham, NC and offices in New Orleans, La., and Washington, DC.

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