Selecting an Oxidizer
Thermal Oxidizer and Catalytic Oxidizer Selection
Selecting the appropriate air pollution control equipment for a particular industry can be challenging to say the least. Though companies are experts in their field, they are usually not experts in regard to air pollution control equipment. That's where Kono Kogs comes in.
Our staff has over 30 years of experience applying, designing, installing and reconditioning thermal oxidizer systems, including the regenerative thermal oxidizer, recuperative thermal oxidizer, catalytic oxidizer, and other air pollution control technologies for a wide array of industries. A thermal oxidizer is a major investment that does not have to turn into a major long term expense. Proper selection of a technology for a particular application is the first step. In many cases, either a thermal oxidizer, catalytic oxidizer, or regenerative thermal oxidizer will meet the most important criteria: field proven performance. If all designs will provide the performance required, and have historically performed well in the field, the next step should be quantifying the total cost of owning each applicable technology. Many applications can utilize either catalytic oxidizer or thermal oxidizer technologies. However, one may break the bank and the other may not. Before selecting a pollution control technology it is important to understand the total cost of ownership.
Kono Kogs recommends a thorough investigation of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of an oxidizer before selecting a system. A system that is inexpensive to purchase may not offer the lowest TCO when looking out 1 or more years. For comparison of thermal oxidizer (or catalytic oxidizer) options consider using a minimum two year time period to compare the TCO of the systems being considered. Cost of ownership includes the initial investment (capital cost) in the equipment, operating costs (fuel, electricity), and maintenance.
Capital Cost of the equipment
- Equipment Commissioning (start-up)
- Operating Costs (Utilities)
Operating Costs of Thermal Oxidizer or Catalytic Oxidizer Systems:
Operating costs can make even the least expensive thermal or catalytic oxidizer a poor investment. A system with low capital cost could have such a high operating cost that the cost of ownership is 3-10 times more than a piece of equipment with a higher initial capital cost; usually due to the operating cost differences between systems. Some thermal oxidizer technologies require 5-10 times the fuel costs of other systems. For example, thermal oxidizer systems with 70-75% thermally effective heat exchangers may require 5-10 times the operating costs of a catalytic oxidizer or regenerative thermal oxidizer system. While the thermal oxidizer may have a lower initial cost, over a two year span TCO of the thermal oxidizer can be 3-4 times that of a catalytic oxidizer or regenerative oxidizer.
Maintenance Costs of Thermal or Catalytic Oxidizers:
While maintenance costs are not a large percentage of the cost of ownership, it is important to understand the limitations of each oxidizer technology. The maintenance cost of owning an oxidizer is not difficult to quantify if the thermal oxidizer or catalytic oxidizer that is being considered has a proven track record in your industrial application.
Normal maintenance consists of greasing bearings, replacing gasket, fan belts and filters, which are relatively low cost. Catalytic oxidizer systems risk contamination of the catalyst and catalyst replacement can be very expensive. Also, regenerative thermal oxidizer and catalytic oxidizer systems risk plugging of their beds with solids, such as paint solids. This usually requires a complete replacement of the ceramic media in an RTO, which is expensive; or requires filtering the catalyst beads, which is time consuming.
While each of these technologies are proven performers in many industries, due diligence is necessary to ensure that the thermal oxidizer or catalytic oxidizer being considered has been proven in your industrial application. A supplier of air pollution control equipment should be able to provide references in industries where their equipment has been proven, or where a specific technology (catalytic oxidizers, thermal oxidizers or regenerative thermal oxidizers) has been performing well for at least one year.