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Selective catalytic reduction (SCR) is a technology to converting nitrogen oxides, also referred to as NOx with the aid of a catalyst into diatomic nitrogen, N2, and water, H2O.
A gaseous reductant, typically anhydrous ammonia, aqueous ammonia or urea, is added to a stream of flue or exhaust gas and is adsorbed onto a catalyst. Carbon dioxide, CO2 is a reaction product when urea is used as the reductant.
Commercial selective catalytic reduction systems are typically found on large utility boilers, industrial boilers, and municipal solid waste boilers and have been shown to reduce NOx by 70-95%. More recent applications include diesel engines, such as those found on large ships, diesel locomotives, gas turbines, and even automobiles.
The ideal reaction has an optimal temperature range between 630 and 720 K, but can operate from 500 to 720 K with longer residence times. The minimum effective temperature depends on the various fuels, gas constituents, and catalyst geometry. Other possible reductants include cyanuric acid and ammonium sulphates.
SCR catalysts are made from various ceramic materials used as a carrier, such as titanium oxide, and active catalytic components are usually either oxides of base metals (such as vanadium, molybdenum and tungsten), zeolites, or various precious metals. Each catalyst component has advantages and disadvantages.