Iron sponge desulfurization, often ignored by plant designers in favor of the monoethanolamine process, may offer economic advantages in sweetening of small gas volumes with low hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide content. The process removes hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans by passing sour gas through vessels loosely packed with wood shavings impregnated by a hydrated form of iron oxide, which reacts with the hydrogen sulfide to form ferric sulfide. The disadvantages are that carbon dioxide is not removed, hydrate formation is a danger in cold weather, and gas sales may be lost when towers are down for servicing. Periodic regeneration of beds takes about a day, and sponges must be replaced occasionally. Despite these shortcomings, the process may prove economical, since a typical plant costs $110,000 as compared to $270,000 for an amine unit. The expense of operating the plant is $23,000 compared with $28,000 for the amine unit. Thus, economics clearly favor the iron sponge process.