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The recycling society: Sulfuric acid (23/05/22 15:30:36)
    Sulfuric acid used to be a byproduct of metal smelting: Copper, zinc, lead (and silver) are mined as sulfides. Burning off the sulfur is IIRC the first step. The resulting sulfur dioxide is raw material for sulfuric acid, which is a catalyst as well as a raw material.

    "Globally, more sulfuric acid (H2SO4) is consumed than any other industrial chemical. In the U.S. alone, over 35 million tons of sulfuric acid are produced every year — roughly two and a half times the amount of propylene, which is second on the list.

    More than half of the sulfuric acid in North America is consumed by the fertilizer industry. A large portion of the remaining supply is used for manufacturing a wide range of materials, such as glue, preservatives, cosmetics, dyes, pulp and paper, steel, pharmaceuticals, explosives, batteries, etc."


    (thanks to oeg for the tip)

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The recycling society: Sulfuric acid