Industrial VOC RemovalMay 20, 2021
Industrial VOC removal (also called VOC treatment or VOC abatement) involves using various systems or removal technologies to break down volatile organic compounds (VOC). Volatile organic compounds are chemical compounds characterized by high vapor pressure (evaporate easily) and low water solubility (do not dissolve easily).
VOCs are a common by-product of many industrial processes, among other sources. Because VOCs can be harmful to the health of people and the environment, the EPA regulates industrial VOC emissions at a federal level. State and local governments may impose additional limitations on the tonnage of VOC emissions allowed before VOC abatement systems must be used.
VOC abatement technologies
There are several different technologies available to remove industrial VOCs. Choosing the optimal VOC treatment system depends on the particulars of each application, such as amount of air to be treated, temperature of the airstream, the VOC types and subsequent concentration, and the required destruction rate efficiency (DRE). Real estate can also factor into your decision as different technologies have different footprints and weights.
The most efficient technologies for VOC treatment are regenerative thermal oxidizers. Kono Kogs is the world’s leading supplier of refurbished, warrantied regenerative thermal oxidizers, and our team has vast experience in treating nearly any industrial air emissions stream. We have a range of cost-effective VOC abatement systems for sale and offer turnkey VOC removal solutions to industry worldwide.
Read more about VOC abatement technologies below, or contact our team for expert help.
Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers (RTO)
Regenerative thermal oxidizers use a heat recovery system, which includes at least two beds of ceramic media that act as the heat exchanger. RTOs use valves to create airflow reversals as the ceramic beds absorb and radiate heat, reducing the amount of fuel needed to heat the airstream. This results in very high thermal/fuel efficiency and low operating cost.
RTOs are typically used to treat airstreams with up to 10% LFL (lower flammable limit) and ideal for treating polluted airstreams with low-to-medium concentrations of VOCs with zero-to-minimal particulate.
Thermal oxidizers heat and maintain a polluted airstream at high temperature for a set length of dwell time. The combustion process turns VOCs into carbon dioxide and water vapor. Typical VOC destruction with thermal oxidizer systems is over 99%. A heat exchanger can be integrated for fuel savings or excluded for capital cost savings.
Thermal oxidizers can be direct-fired or recuperative (if a heat recovery component is added). Thermal oxidizers aren’t as thermally efficient as RTOs, but they have the highest VOC destruction efficiency, typically > +99%. (For more information, see Regenerative vs recuperative thermal oxidizers). Thermal oxidizers can accept medium-to-very high VOC concentrations with airstreams that have some particulate if the heat exchanger is cleanable.
Recuperative Catalytic Oxidizers (RCO)
A recuperative catalytic oxidizer (aka catalytic oxidizer) destroys VOCs by passing the polluted airstream through a precious metal catalyst substrate and destroys VOCs at a much lower temperature than thermal oxidation (typically 600-650° F, compared to 1400° F for a thermal oxidizer). This technology is very similar to the catalytic converter on your automobile.
Because of the lower operating temperatures, catalytic oxidizers are more fuel efficient and have a longer lifespan compared to thermal oxidizers. RCOs routinely achieve VOC destruction efficiencies over 98% while offering thermal efficiencies up to 70%. Catalytic oxidizers are susceptible to certain chemicals such as sulfides, silicones, organic silicates, phosphorous containing material, arsenics, and other contaminants, so careful consideration should be taken when considering an RCO for your application.
VOC concentrators are also called rotary concentrators, RTO concentrators, or VOC rotors. A VOC rotor concentrator system is a unit placed upstream from an oxidizer. The VOC concentrator takes in high-volume airstreams with low VOC concentration and outputs low-volume airstreams with high VOC concentration, which can then be treated in any one of the oxidizer technologies described above.
By first reducing the volume of the airstream, a smaller oxidizer can be used for VOC abatement. This makes VOC concentrators ideal for applications where airflow is abundant, but VOC concentrations are low. Each system needs to be designed specifically for the VOC being treated, and in some cases are not able to treat some VOCs.
Choosing the best VOC treatment system
Unsure which VOC treatment technology is best for your industrial application? Selecting a refurbished oxidizer can be a daunting process. Kono Kogs can help by providing a cost/benefit analysis for your specific project. We’ll compare multiple technology options, explain the trade-offs of each one, and give you our honest recommendation on the most cost-effective VOC treatment system for your application.
Why Kono Kogs?
Kono Kogs has been providing VOC removal solutions to small and multi-national companies for decades, helping them meet clean air compliance requirements economically. Our team has a 100% success rate meeting performance guarantees. We have an in-depth understanding of every process airstream being treated, and a no-nonsense approach to solving the most challenging emission control problems. We also offer full thermal oxidizer services including repair, emergency repair, preventive maintenance, and oxidizer rebuilds/upgrades.