This book, scientific and technical in nature, is written in a clear and concise style by the author who aims at presenting scholarly contents to be understood by those who do not have a strong background in chemistry and the text will be enjoyed until the last page by anyone.
The book has seven chapters each devoted to either method of production or set of applications as they intertwined during different stages of industrial and technological developments. The first chapter is a brief introduction which provides an overview of physical properties of sulfur, its natural sources, and its ancient markets.
It is followed by “Sulfur Age”, also known as the Industrial Age, during which the dominant market for sulfur and sulfuric acid emerged such as Leblanc industry and phosphate fertilizers.
Sicily was the first global supplier of sulfur. Sulfur demand soared, becoming the first global commodity industry.
Large sulfur deposits were discovered in Texas and Louisiana. Hidden under the quagmire, the elusive deposits remained beyond the technology of the day. A new inventive process was discovered by Herman Frasch.
His technology created the great sulfur companies of the world, and America became the largest producer (and user) of sulfur – the position it holds today. Herman Frasch is less known but of a similar stature as Edison. His patented inventions gave edge to American industry which went from 100% import to become the largest producer and exporter in less than one decade.
Sulfur is a common contaminant of oil and natural gas. It must be removed from these materials before they can be used as energy sources. It is the basis of the most modern industry. Recovery of sulfur from oil sands is the further extension of the present process and its future is discussed.
The sulfur industry is an excellent “case study” of entrepreneurship and relationship with investors. This book reveals characteristics of entrepreneurs and inventors and approaches required to formulate goals. Most importantly, it shows how to succeed in new ventures. Rockefeller might have become a failed entrepreneur if Frasch had not have rescued him from his “bad investment”. Frasch turned certain failure into success through his technological expertise and determination. Frasch’s major expertise was in the oil industry and specifically in removal of sulfur from oil.
The interested audience of this book goes far beyond the boundaries of sulfur applications and oil industry and as such it should be found in every technical, university, and public libraries.
1 Le Roi du Sol
2 The Sulfur Age
2.1 Sulfuric acid manufacturing
2.1.1 The Nordhausen process
2.1.2 The Bell
2.1.3 The chamber
2.1.4 The contact
2.1.5 Metallurgical sulfuric
2.2 Sulfuric acid
2.2.1 The Leblanc
3 Native Sulfur - Sicily
3.1 Ancient sulfur
3.2 Renaissance sulfur
3.3 Industrial revolution (“Sulfur Age”)
3.3.2 The Zolfare, the Solfatari & the Carusi
3.3.3 The Doppioni, Calcarella, Calcaroni & the Gill furnace
3.3.4 The Gabelloti
3.3.5 The British wine merchants
3.3.6 The Sulfur War of 1840
3.3.7 The post-Sulfur War era & the rise of pyrites
3.4 The cartels
3.4.1 Anglo-Sicilian Sulfur Company (ASSC): 1896 to 1906
3.4.2 Consorzio Obligatorio per D'Industrial Solfifera Siciliana (COISS): 1906 to 1932
3.4.3 Ufficio per la Vendita dello Zolfo Italiano (UVZI): 1934 to 1940
3.4.4 Ente Zolfi Italiani (EZI): 1940 to 1962
3.4.5 Ente Minerario Siciliano (EMS): 1962 to 1985
4 Frasch Sulfur – Texas/Louisiana
4.1 Native (non-Frasch) sulfur mines
4.2 Herman Frasch
4.2.1 His life & family
4.2.2 His oil ventures
4.2.3 His alkali venture
4.2.4 His salt ventures
4.2.5 His sulfur ventures: Union Sulfur
4.5 The other sulfur companies
4.5.1 Freeport Sulfur
4.5.2 Texas Gulf Sulfur
4.5.3 Duval Texas Sulfur
4.5.4 Jefferson Lake Sulfur
4.6 Liquid sulfur
4.7 Non-U.S. Frasch mines
5 Recovered Sulfur - Alberta
5.1 Sour, more sour, & sourest
5.2 Alberta & the global sulfur market
5.3 Sulfur blocks & broken sulfur
5.4 Sulfur forming: slate & prills
5.5 Marketing &
5.5.1 Cansulex & Prism
5.5.2 Alberta to Vancouver
5.6 The global competition
5.6.2 Western Europe
5.6.3 Persian Gulf
22.214.171.124 Saudi Arabia
5.6.4 Caspian Sea
5.7 Sulfur pricing: the penny syndrome
6 Future Sulfur - Oil Sands
6.1 Beyond the oil sands
7 The Sulfur Entrepreneur
7.1 The desperate entrepreneur & the reluctant investor
7.1.1 Institutional investors
7.1.2 Private investors
7.2 The revolutionary technology: to switch or not to switch, that is the question
7.3 The ultimate venture: the monopoly game
7.4 Who killed the sulfur entrepreneur?
Appendix I. Sulexco Agreements
Appendix II. FTC Review of Sulexco
Appendix III. Global Sulfur Production
Dr. Gerald Kutney obtained his Ph.D. in organosulfur chemistry from the University of Toronto. He worked for CIL (ICI Canada) on elemental sulfur. He was president and CEO of an elemental sulfur fertilizer company, and founder of an elemental sulfur logistics firm. His work resulted in development of new technological processes, patented inventions, and scientific publications – all in the area of sulfur.