Letter Re: Natural Gas “Drip” Condensate

Hello James,
To follow up on the recent letter about running gasoline engines on “drip”: I have never used drip gas, but an old friend of mine who lived and worked in Texas told me it was often necessary to remove the sulfur from drip gas. I would suspect your nose would tell you if sulfur was present [in high concentration] by the rotten egg smell of hydrogen sulfide. The trick used back then was to let the drip gas sit in a container full of copper wool.  Obviously copper wire will work, but over a longer time period, as the copper wool has more surface area. The sulfur in the drip gas reacts with the copper to form a very black flake that then falls off the wire, leaving a black sediment in the container.  

The reason this is important is that the sulfur can also react with the copper in bearings of your engine, leading to a major failure. Burned sulfur in fuel, now sulfur dioxide gas, after passing through a catalytic converter is converted to sulfuric acid, leading to a rust out of your exhaust system. All of this can be eliminated and tested for by soaking with shiny copper wire, wool, or even pennies.  

Watching a sulfide containing liquid, such as Ortho Dormant Disease Lime Sulfur spray, to remove all the copper off of a post-1982 penny is an interesting experiment. It leaves the pure zinc penny naked of it’s copper shell. Now imagine it is pulling the copper off your engine’s bearings. Best to you, – Dave B.