Two new classes of catalysts for the removal of heavy metal contaminants, especially mercury (Hg) from effluent gases. Both of these classes of catalysts are excellent absorbers of HCl and Cl.sub.2 present in effluent gases. This adsorption of oxidizing agents aids in the oxidation of heavy metal contaminants. The catalysts remove mercury by oxidizing the Hg into mercury (II) moieties. For one class of catalysts, the active component is selected from the group consisting of iridium (Ir) and iridum-platinum (Ir/Pt) alloys. The Ir and Ir/Pt alloy catalysts are especially corrosion resistant. For the other class of catalyst, the active component is partially combusted coal or "Thief" carbon impregnated with Cl.sub.2. Untreated Thief carbon catalyst can be self-activating in the presence of effluent gas streams. The Thief carbon catalyst is disposable by means of capture from the effluent gas stream in a particulate collection device (PCD).
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to the employer-employee relationship between the Government and the inventors who are U.S. Department of Energy employees at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh, Pa.