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What is H2S- Creation, Detection, and Removal in Industries

What is H2S- Creation, Detection, and Removal in Industries

The term H2S stands for hydrogen sulfide. It is a colorless, flammable, toxic gas with a “rotten egg” odor. H2S is a toxic gas that can cause respiratory paralysis, heart failure, and death, if not treated and refined in time.

Hydrogen Sulfide gas can be found in many places, such as sewers, landfills, and natural gas extraction sites. While the gas doesn’t have a taste to it, we can smell it from great distances away!

H2S is also used in industries that are used for mass production. This is where H2S Zero comes in to help.
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In this article, you will learn about

  • The dangers of H2S, and how it occurs in the environment.
  • How it is created during industrial production and detection.
  • Occupations that are at a high risk of exposure.
  • OSHA’s guidelines for making the workplace safe.

Table of Contents

What is H2S?

H2Sis a colorless, poisonous gas that is known to be emitted from the decomposition of organic matter. It is often found in well water and is the leading cause of death in the oil and gas industry.

Where can it be found?

It naturally exists in crude petroleum, natural gas, and hot springs. Hydrogen sulfide is formed as a byproduct of the bacterial decomposition of organic materials and human and animal wastes (e.g., sewage).

Industries like Petroleum/natural gas drilling and refining, wastewater treatment, coke ovens, tanneries, and kraft paper mills are examples of industrial operations that can create this gas.

Hydrogen sulfide can also exist as a compressed liquid gas.

The majority of the hydrogen sulfide in the atmosphere is natural (approximately 90%). It is formed in the presence of organic material and sulfate under circumstances of low oxygen. As a result, it is one of the most significant pollutants released by sewage and waste-water treatment plants, utility facilities, and sewers. It can also be found in substances such as natural gas and crude petroleum.

Some common places where H2S accumulates naturally:

  • Drainage ditches
  • Sewers
  • Manure storage facilities
  • Oil and gas well heads
  • Landfills
  • Rivers and streams contaminated by sewage or animal waste

Hydrogen sulfide is a poisonous and extremely corrosive gas that occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust.

Industries With a Higher Risk of Exposure

These major industries have a higher risk of exposure to hydrogen sulfide:

1. Petroleum refining
2. Natural gas processing
3. Sewage treatment
4. Pulp and paper production

Hydrogen sulfide exposure can result in major health concerns such as respiratory irritation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and death. Workers in these sectors are more vulnerable to hydrogen sulfide exposure and should take steps to protect themselves from this harmful gas.

H2S Zero can lower emissions below the permissible limit letting production last longer. Comply with industry safety standards with zero parts per million!

How is Hydrogen Sulfide Gas Created?

When elemental sulfur or sulfur-containing compounds come into contact with organic molecules at high temperatures, H2Sis produced.

Industries such as coke manufacturing, viscose rayon manufacture, wood pulp production, and so on generate gaseous pollutants into the atmosphere. Sulfur extraction processes, tanning, mining, sugar-beet processing, and hot-asphalt paving are other sources of H2S.

Protection from H2Soccurring naturally is easy by avoiding the contaminated sites, however, industries that emit this gas need to have very stringent safety rules in place.

Industries involved with H2S

Hydrogen sulfide gas is used in a variety of industries, including oil and gas production, metal refining, paper, and pulp manufacturing, food processing, waste management, and chemical manufacturing.

  • Oil and gas production: Hydrogen sulfide is a byproduct of natural gas and crude oil processing. It is used to remove impurities from these fuels before they are burned. It is typically found in small quantities in natural gas deposits but can be present in much higher concentrations in crude oil reserves. In the oil and gas industry, hydrogen sulfide gas is considered a hazardous substance and must be carefully managed to avoid health and safety risks.
  • Metal refining: Hydrogen sulfide is used in the process of refining metals like copper and zinc. It helps to remove impurities from the metals.
  • Chemical manufacturing: Hydrogen sulfide is used in the manufacture of chemicals like sulfuric acid and detergents.
  • Paper and pulp manufacturing: Hydrogen sulfide gas is used in the paper and pulp industry to bleach wood pulp. The bleaching process uses high temperatures and pressures to convert the wood pulp into paper. During this process, hydrogen sulfide gas is produced as a byproduct.
  • Food processing: Hydrogen sulfide gas is used in food processing to preserve food products. It is commonly used to preserve meats, fish, and eggs. Hydrogen sulfide gas prevents microbial growth by inhibiting the respiratory process of bacteria.
  • Waste management: Hydrogen sulfide gas is used in waste management to control odors. It is added to sewage systems and landfill sites to neutralize the foul odors produced by decomposing organic matter.

OSHA’S Categorisation of H2S Industry Contamination

OSHA has defined H2S exposure limits and symptoms.

H2S Zero can reduce the H2Scontent in industrial emissions to zero parts per million.

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Detection of H2S

Because hydrogen sulfide is heavier than air, it can move on the ground. It accumulates in low-lying and confined, poorly ventilated spaces including basements, manholes, sewage lines, underground telephone vaults, and manure pits, thus making it easy to detect initially.

Detecting trace content of H2S can be done by using suitable methods like air monitoring equipment such as

  • hydrogen sulfide detector tubes
  • multi-gas meter that detect the gas

The use of proper equipment can be better for recognizing dangers, monitoring, and accessing restricted places when working in confined spaces, rather than relying on manual methods.

H2S monitoring measurement techniques

Pulsed UV fluorescence, lead acetate tape technique, semiconductor, and electrochemistry are all methods for detecting hydrogen sulfide in the atmosphere.

Pulsed ultraviolet fluorescence

The UV fluorescence principle-based H2S monitor is based on the emission of a distinctive fluorescence when SO2 molecules are exposed to UV light. The H2S meter collects an air sample in two ways. One-half of the sample is sent through the converter, where the H2S gas is catalyzed into SO2 via a catalytic process, while the other part is bypassed.

When SO2 is subjected to a beam of UV light in the 190-230 nm range, it becomes excited and generates characteristic fluorescence radiation in the 320-380 nm range when it returns to its ground state. The radiation goes through a filter and is recorded by the detector (photomultiplier tube). The concentration of H2S is the difference in signal strength between the two sections. Water vapor, nitric oxide (NO), and other hydrocarbons are also potential interferences in such hydrogen sulfide detectors.

Method of Lead Acetate Tape

This method’s H2S monitor is based on the chemical interaction of H2S with lead acetate-coated paper tape to create lead sulfide.

If H2S is present in the sensor, the color of the lead acetate tape changes because lead sulfide shows as a brown stain on the paper tape. A light source also lights the tape, and specially calibrated optics assess the H2S concentration based on tiny differences in the depth of the tape’s color shift.


When a metal oxide semiconductor-based hydrogen sulfide monitor is exposed to an air sample, the H2S molecules react on the sensor’s metal oxide surface and dissociate into charged ions, causing the film’s resistance to change. This interaction is monitored as a signal and translated to the concentration of the gas. However, as compared to other H2S sensors, these consume more energy.


H2S monitors work on the basis of the passage of hydrogen sulfide gas into the sensor, resulting in the formation of electrical signals proportional to the H2S concentration. As a result, it enables precise detection of even low H2S concentrations, which is critical in H2S monitoring in the ambient air.

Is Hydrogen Sulfide Dangerous

Hydrogen sulfide is a highly toxic gas. It is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced by the decomposition of organic matter. Hydrogen sulfide can be found in many industrial and commercial settings, as well as in nature.
Furthermore, hydrogen sulfide is an extremely flammable gas, and gas/air combinations can be explosive. It may travel to ignition sources and then flashback. When the gas is ignited, it burns, producing hazardous vapors and gases such as sulfur dioxide.

H2S Exposure Symptoms

H2S exposure symptoms include shock, convulsions, inability to breathe, extremely quick unconsciousness, coma, and death from high doses. Effects can occur in a matter of a few breaths, and perhaps in a single breath.

Exposure to Hydrogen Sulfide

Hydrogen sulfide exposure can occur through inhalation, skin contact, or eye contact. H2S exposure symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. High concentrations of hydrogen sulfide can lead to death.

The general H2S exposure limit is 20 ppm. The peak limit is 50 ppm (up to 10 minutes).

There are a variety of ways to protect yourself from hydrogen sulfide exposure, including wearing proper personal protective equipment and using ventilation systems. If you believe you have been exposed to hydrogen sulfide, seek medical attention immediately.

Inhalation is the most common exposure method, and the lungs quickly absorb the gas. Wearing gas masks is very important in toxic environments.

The amount absorbed via the skin is negligible.

At low quantities of H2S in the air, people may detect the “rotten egg” stench of hydrogen sulfide.

However, with long-term low-level exposure or at high concentrations, a person loses the capacity to smell the gas, even if it is still present (olfactory fatigue).

This may happen extremely quickly, and in high quantities, the ability to smell the gas can be completely gone. As a result, DO NOT rely on your sense of smell to detect the presence of hydrogen sulfide or to warn of dangerous quantities.

Protection from H2S exposure

Before approaching regions where hydrogen sulfide may be present, take the following precautions:

  • A certified person must test the air for the presence and content of hydrogen sulfide using air monitoring equipment such as hydrogen sulfide detector tubes or a multi-gas metre that detects the gas. Testing should also identify whether or not fire/explosion measures are required.
  • If the gas is present, the space/area must be constantly vented to eliminate it.
  • If the gas cannot be eliminated, the individual entering the space/area must wear suitable respiratory protection and any other personal protective, rescue, and communication equipment that may be required.

OSHA’s Guidelines for Confined Spaces with H2S

OSHA has very specific requirements for identifying, entering and monitoring hazardous, highly dangerous confined spaces.

Entering hazardous H2S environments

At or Above 100 ppm: A level of H2S gas at or above 100 ppm is considered Dangerous to Life and Health Immediately (IDLH). Only a full facepiece pressure-demand self-contained breathing equipment (SCBA) with a minimum service life of thirty minutes or a combined full facepiece pressure-demand supplied-air respirator with an auxiliary self-contained air supply can be used to enter IDLH atmospheres.

Less than 100 ppm: If H2S levels are less than 100 ppm, an air-purifying respirator, presuming the filter cartridge/canister is suitable for hydrogen sulfide, may be utilized. A full-facepiece respirator helps protect your eyes from discomfort.

When air concentrations are high, ocular discomfort can be severe. Tight-fitting eyewear must be used if a half-mask respirator is utilized.

Workers working in highly hazardous zones containing hydrogen sulfide must be monitored for signs of overexposure.

H2S Removal from Natural Gas

H2S scavengers is widely used in hydrocarbon processing facilities to ensure worker safety and productivity while reducing odor emissions. To assist achieve product and process criteria, these specialist compounds selectively react with and eliminate H2S.

What Is the Meaning of Hydrogen Sulfide Scavenger (H2S Scavenger)?
A hydrogen sulfide (H2S) scavenger is a type of chemical or fuel additive that is commonly employed in hydrocarbon and chemical processing plants. To assist achieve product and process criteria, these specialist compounds selectively react with and eliminate H2S.

Crude oil, gasoline, and other refined petroleum products in storage tanks, tanker ships, rail trains, and pipelines are among the items treated for H2S.

Hydrogen sulfide may cause pipework damage by either interacting directly with steel to form an iron sulfide corrosion coating or raising the acidity of the liquid/gas combination in the pipes. H2S may be oxidized to generate elemental sulfur when dissolved in water. When in close contact with the metal surface, this can also form an iron sulfide corrosion coating.

Overview – The Process of H2S removal from Natural Gas
Hydrogen sulfide is naturally present in crude oil and may be produced through refining operations such as hydro-cracking, hydrolysis, and elemental sulfur synthesis. Where the presence of bacteria and organic waste results in the production of this unpleasant gas, H2S removal is essential. Because H2S is corrosive and can cause iron sulfide fouling, its presence can degrade overall system efficiency and operational dependability.

To avoid hydrogen sulfide corrosion, hydrogen sulfide scavengers can be a cost-effective alternative to traditional gas/liquid sweetening techniques such as amine units or solid dry bed procedures. Our H2S scavenger triazine has proven to be effective in a variety of applications, including

  • Removal of H2S from gas streams
  • Removal of H2S from sour hydrocarbon liquids (condensate and NGL streams)
  • H2S removal from sour liquid tank vapor spaces

Choosing scavenger programme for the removal of H2S from gas streams

Scavenger programmes are chosen based on the nature of the H2S issue and the petroleum product being treated. H2S scavengers are classified into three types:

  • Water-soluble scavengers are the most common scavengers and are frequently used in applications at temperatures below 200°F (93°C). These are the most often used additives in flare gas, LPG, wastes, and crude oils.
  • Oil-soluble scavengers are used in high-temperature applications or where the hydrocarbon’s water tolerance is a concern. These items are usually amine-based.
  • Metal-based scavengers – Meet the unique requirements of very high-temperature and high-H2S concentration applications, such as those used to cure asphalt.
Our H2S Zero Scavengers remove oxygenates, H2S and mercaptans from hydrocarbon gases.

3-5 Times Longer
Run Times

More cost effective per
pounds of sulfur removed


Less caking and


Saturated media can be
disposed of in landfills

How To Remove Sulfur Compounds From Natural Gas

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a common and naturally occurring contaminant in nature. Natural gas is mostly methane, although it may also contain up to 20% other hydrocarbons such as butane, propane, and ethane. In most circumstances, the patented line of H2S Zero products is the most efficient and cost-effective technique for eliminating H2S and low molecular weight mercaptans.

Scavengers, often known as scrubbers, are chemical compounds that react with H2S. It can be a liquid, such as triazine, or a solid, such as the proprietary H2S Zero range of mixed metal oxide absorbent catalysts. Unlike liquid systems that require continuous monitoring of H2S levels for optimal liquid dosing, H2S Zero’s line of products is totally self-regulating in their response to the Hydrogen Sulfide.

Furthermore, they have no negative side effects such as solids formation, scaling, corrosion, or emulsion difficulties.

Remove Sulfur Compounds From Natural Gas

The H2S Zero Experience – Our Products


(H2S)Zero is a flagship product, designed specifically for purifying natural gas streams, at home at the wellhead, the gas plant, the gathering station, the refinery, and most other locations. Porosity, surface area, speed, and capacity are developed in the optimal proportion for maximum sulfur removal.

SulfaBate NGL

SulfaBate NGL Catalyst – From NGL to Naphtha, SulfaBate NGL is engineered to give a higher performance while increasing efficiency. SulfaBate NGL is the easiest answer to obtain dynamic outcomes by challenging the accepted standards of how sulfurs are removed from liquid feeds. Looking for an alternative to hydrotreating? Are you looking to replace your zinc beds? Do you want to improve your efficiency at lower temperatures?

SulfaBate X

SulfaBate X is the X factor for Oxygenate Removal. It is a noncarrier supported, 95%+ active material for Oxygenate removal from Natural Gas Liquids.

H2S Zero passes TCLP tests and ensures a toxin-free environment for you and your workers with H2S removal and H2S scavenger services.

3-5 Times Longer
Run Times

More cost effective per
pounds of sulfur removed


Less caking and


Saturated media can be
disposed of in landfills


H2S, or Hydrogen Sulfide is a very noxious gas found naturally and used in certain industries. While it is best to avoid places with natural H2S, industries that use this gas need to abide by OSHA’s guidelines to sustain their processes.

While it is impossible to prevent the use of H2S, it is possible to mitigate the risks of working with this gas. Proper use of kits and services can reduce the amount of H2S released into the atmosphere, and keep workers safe.

H2S(Zero), LLC and its product families are dedicated to removing sulfur compounds (such as Hydrogen Sulfide “H2S”) and oxygenate pollutants (such as methanol) from natural gas and natural gas liquids (“NGL”).

The products of H2S(Zero) may eliminate these impurities for longer periods of time and at a lesser cost. This results in increased production uptime, cleaner gas and liquid streams, improved corrosion protection for equipment, and cleaner output streams, allowing customers to profit more. Increased customer earnings allow producers and refiners to reinvest in their own assets and processes, resulting in higher overall systemic optimization.

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The X factor for Oxygenate Removal Non carrier supported, 95%+ active material. The solid media treatment leader in Oxygenate removal from Natural Gas Liquids .