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VOCs and HAPs Controls


Controlling VOC and NOx Simultaneously from a Plastic Foam Manufacturing Facility

The Problem . . .
A European manufacturer needed to meet local, national and EU emission requirements for VOC and NOx emissions from its plastic foam manufacturing process.

The Solution . . .
The extruded foam web enters the foaming oven where the final product is made. The foam expands in the oven and in the process chemical compounds are emitted.

Compliance with the emission limits required development of a hybrid catalytic system that would concurrently treat the oven air to abate both VOC and NOx limits to achieve <20 mg/Nm3 VOC and <200 mg/Nm3 NOx.

CSM developed a single, skid mounted system using a unique control scheme to achieve performance while eliminating the need of ammonia injection and associated NOx analyzers, considered standard for most SCR systems. The system uses multiple catalyst beds and conserves energy.

The Result . . .
The application of catalysis in a hybrid system to abate VOC and NOx simultaneously allowed the manufacturer to meet its emissions limits. These results indicate that this technique can be applied to cut streams containing excessive ammonia, hydrocarbons, nitrogen bearing compounds and nitrogen oxides.

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Controlling VOCs from a Hot Stamp Foil Manufacturer

The Problem . . .
Rising energy costs prompted a hot stamp foil manufacturer to look into ways to cut their process energy costs. They determined that their recuperative oxidizer was subject to frequent malfunctions and was preventing them from achieving optimal run speeds. A change was needed. Its goal was to achieve a 15 to 20 percent increase in overall throughput from their coating lines. Its current oxidizer required a large amount of natural gas to operate and they hoped to minimize fuel consumption.

The Solution . . .
The hot stamp foil manufacturer had three specific requirements for purchase of a new oxidizer: the ability to reclaim heat for their dryers, the ability to achieve specific VOC destruction rates, and a solution that could be readily integrated with existing operations. The company selected a customized 25,000 scfm RTO with auxiliary heat recovery and enough capacity to handle additional exhaust air flow from future processes. In order to reclaim the heat to fuel the dryers, the supplier's engineers developed a customized heat recovery configuration. The system uses an automated heat recovery damper and a hot air mixing chamber to provide temperature controlled make-up air back to the process dryers. With regenerative technology, the VOCs in the process exhaust provide enough energy to keep the oxidizer operating on its own without burner fuel input. Plus, since the hot stamp foil manufacturer can use excess recovered heat from the oxidizer, they don't have to operate the gas-fired heat sources at the dryer any more, which means they can run more safely and efficiently. The RTO uses engineered ceramic heat exchanger media that provides uniform process air distribution across the heat recovery media while promoting turbulence to ensure VOC conversion. This allows for a design destruction efficiency of 99 percent.

The Result . . .
Operating costs dropped substantially and energy usage is down more than 75 percent.

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Controlling VOCs from Battery Manufacturing

The Problem . . .
A battery manufacturing plant need an emissions control upgrade for their manufacturing process that produces and packages primary and rechargeable alkaline batteries. Hoods above the process lines collect a mix of VOCs from the various production processes and send the contaminants to be oxidized. In 1999, the plant was using two direct-fired thermal oxidizers. However, the units were worn from use and consumed tremendous amounts of natural gas. It was time to upgrade the plant's oxidation process.

The Solution . . .
The plant's goal was to minimize energy use while providing continuous dependable service. They looked at both innovative and traditional technologies for the destruction of a mixed VOC stream, but its best realized value calculation resulted from an RTO technology. The RTO technology achieves high energy savings through a regenerative thermal oxidation design that delivers thermal efficiencies of 95 percent. These systems are able to sustain thermal conditions with the heat released during VOC oxidation. This creates a situation where no additional fuel is required for VOC destruction. The installation was completed during a scheduled 24-hour shutdown. In addition, the RTO unit's operation could be monitored remotely from the supplier's headquarters, which keeps process line maintenance and operating problems at a minimum, since technical issues can be taken care of immediately. Since continuous operation is a must, remote monitoring offers a real advantage to avoiding downtime.

The Result . . .
The unit has been very dependable and cost savings are running at or above the 60 percent energy saving anticipated.

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Controlling High or Low VOC Concentrations for a Latex Supplier

The Problem . . .
A major supplier of latex to the paint industry faced a particular problem when it looked for a way to reduce emissions of vinyl acetate and other VOCs during the manufacturing process.

Because the latex manufacturer uses a proprietary batch process for latex production, the VOC concentrations in the process exhaust stream vary from almost 0% lower explosive limit (LEL) to a flammable mixture. A large variation in concentration - combined with the 95% destruction efficiency that U.S. regulations currently mandate - poses a problem for the most commonly used technologies.

Catalytic oxidation is often used to promote the oxidation of VOCs at a temperature that is lower than thermally possible. By operating at these lower temperatures, catalytic oxidizers use less fuel, which saves money. The chief drawback is that catalytic units are normally limited to an LEL concentration of less than 25%. Concentrations greater than 25% LEL result in excess heat release in the catalyst bed, which can damage the catalyst. Air dilution can be used to reduce concentrations, but then extra fuel is needed to heat the increased volume.

A second method to control VOC emissions is thermal oxidation using either a regenerative or recuperative heat exchanger. Because of variations in LEL concentrations and heat releases, however, a heat exchanger cannot be properly sized to handle the high heat release while still being efficient enough to make the unit economical to operate with lower LEL concentrations.

A final option is direct flame oxidation in which the process gas is burned in a burner. This, too, is problematic. Although direct flame oxidation works well when VOC concentrations are high, the method requires large amounts of natural gas to be added to the process stream when the process LEL is very low. Otherwise, the mixture will not reach combustibility. Consequently, this method is also uneconomical.

The Solution . . .
The latex manufacturer solved their dilemma with the use of a specialized oxidation system. Based on the standard catalytic oxidizer, the system features a fluidized bed of inexpensive, non-noble metal catalyst. This fluidization, along with the catalyst's rugged characteristics, prevents the catalyst from fouling, and allows the catalyst to be used in streams with both chlorinated and sulfur compounds. These features, along with the system's castable refractory lining and strong carbon steel shell, provided a good base unit.

The system, however, still needed to operate economically while handling the high VOC concentrations. For this, a second burner was added to the system through which the process gas is introduced into the oxidizer. This burner provides direct flame incineration when concentrations reach a flammable level. At this point, the gas is burned as a fuel to provide heat for the system. As a result, the pre-heat burner running on natural gas turns down to a low-fire state to conserve fuel. Since fuel is not burned at 100% efficiency, some of the VOCs make it past the burner. The catalyst oxidizes VOCs that are not oxidized in the burner for a destruction efficiency in excess of 95% (higher destruction efficiencies can be reached by adding more catalyst).

At low VOC concentrations the unit operates as a normal catalytic oxidizer, with the vinyl acetate-laden air being oxidized in the catalyst bed. The catalyst allows for high destruction efficiencies at lower operating temperatures than thermal oxidation. For this application, the operating temperature is set at 700 degrees F.

The Result . . .
The use of such a sophisticated combination direct flame/thermal/catalytic oxidizer allowed the latex manufacturer to solve a potentially cost prohibitive, as well as technologically difficult, problem with a cost-effective, relatively simple solution.

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Controlling VOC Emissions and Solvents from a Flexible Packaging Plant

The Problem . . .
A company selling a range of flexible packaging to customers across the U.S. had an inefficient solvent recovery system. Their product line includes everything from packages for the snack food industry, to extended wraps for multi-packs of toilet paper, to packaging for pet foods, confections, and pharmaceuticals.

The company's 15-year-old carbon bed solvent recovery system was wearing out. It required a lot of maintenance work and consumed significant fuel for steam downs. The system also yielded unrecyclable solvents that resulted in monthly disposal fees. The restricted solvent diet that recovery systems can handle also limited their options in process flexibility.

The company needed to control VOC emissions from seven processes, including five presses (one flexo and four rotogravure) and two wash stations, and also needed to control a wide range of solvents.

The Solution . . .
Rather than rebuild or replace the system, the packaging company chose to install a new RTO, but their location complicated the situation. The plant is in a residential section of town with a hospital across the street. Both factors had to be considered in the air quality model. Perhaps more challenging was the placement site itself. There is a steep, 90-foot bluff immediately behind the plant. The only available site for the unit was between the back of the plant and the foot of this steep hill. Working with engineers from an industrial equipment installation firm; the control technology supplier, packaging company, and the installer, developed a plan for cutting a temporary road through the bluff. This was the only way to reach the site. The operation required moving more than 15,000 yards of dirt, as well as exhaustive logistical planning.

The RTO was built offsite and trucked to the packaging company's facility for installation. During the bulk of installation, the plant continued its normal 24-hour operations. Final connections and testing required a one-day plant shutdown.

The Result . . .
To operate continuously on a 24 hours per day, seven days per week basis, the plant's required VOC destruction efficiency was very high. Stack testing of the installed oxidizer produced an actual destruction efficiency of 98.9% - more than enough to satisfy the regulatory agency.

In addition, the system continues to bring the packaging plant significant savings in operating costs. Compared to the old solvent recovery system, fuel costs have dropped 80%. Plus, the company no longer has to pay for disposing unrecyclable solvent, which had run over six figures a year. The RTO also eliminates the cost of 9,000 pounds of water used for daily steam downs and the plant has been able to take the people they had maintaining their solvent recovery system and put them back into value-adding work.

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Controlling VOC Emissions with a System Integral to the Production Process at a Commercial Bakery

The Problem . . .
The customer required an emissions abatement system as an integral component of a new production line in order to achieve VOC emission compliance while saving money due to reduced costs. The customer is a commercial bakery, Gold Coast Baking of Santa Ana, California, and the CSM catalytic oxidizer needed to be integral to the new bakery oven being provided by Pulver Genau of Tracy, California.

The Solution . . .
The unique oven/oxidizer design incorporated a CSM Worldwide Model 10B Catalytic Oxidizer into a Pulver Genau E4 bakery oven using indirect and direct fired zones. Cost savings were realized via reduced engineering costs, capital investment costs, installation costs and operating costs.

The Result . . .
This first-of-a-kind design resulted in savings in both time and money: only one permit was required for two installed systems, heat circulated into the oven eliminated the need for an additional heat exchanger, operating costs were cut resulting in a 25% fuel savings, and the catalytic oxidizer was incorporated as part of the process, not as an end-of-the-pipe solution.

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Controlling VOC Emissions from a Wire Enameling Plant

The Problem . . .
A wire enameling plant ("the company") in Missouri needed a system that could control odor and VOCs while operating within a tight pressure-control tolerance. Each of the company's enameling process lines produced one hot and one cold source of VOC emissions. The company needed a single system that would initially control 40 process lines, but which also had the reserve capacity to handle an additional 20 lines of potential expansion.

The Solution . . .
After a thorough evaluation of several possible solutions, the company selected a 30,000-scfm regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) to control odor and VOCs.

The control technology supplier working with the company's local contractors, erected intricate ductwork to gather VOC emissions from the plant's 40 enameling lines (each of which has two sets of ducts) and efficiently route them to the oxidizer while maintaining specified pressures. Steps were also taken to prevent condensation problems from mixing process air from the two temperature sources. Finally, installation of the ducting had to be accomplished while the plant was in full operation.

The final tie-in and commissioning was scheduled during a six-day shutdown, and the job was finished with time to spare. Testing verified that the system delivered RTO thermal efficiency of 94%, ±2%, and VOC destruction efficiency of >99%. The system maintained steady static oven pressure control of -0.50 inches of water column, ±0.075", and transient pressure control of ovens with a pressure disturbance of >1.0" water column for a duration of five seconds or less.

The Result . . .
The regenerative thermal oxidizer system met all design requirements and proved to have no adverse impact on the company's process ovens.

For More Information . . .
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Controlling HCl Fume Emissions from a Metal-Working Plant

The Problem . . .
Allomatic Products Company wanted to limit emissions of hydrochloric acid (HCl) from its metal-working plant in Sullivan, IN. A "bubbling" scrubber, installed in 1992, was not doing the job. HCl fumes were causing acidic odors in the neighborhood, as well as a discharge plume.

The company specializes in filters, friction plates and steel plates which it supplies to the aftermarket transmission industry. Friction plates for automobile automatic transmissions were "driving" the problem. After the friction and steel cores are blanked in the press room, they must be acid-etched using HCl.

The Solution . . .
After an engineering analysis, the supplier suggested a system combining a venturi-type wet scrubber with a packed scrubbing tower. Operating parameters were stated as 500 cfm of gas, containing 500 ppm HCl vapors, with 95% or better removal efficiency required.

The Result . . .
Installation was accomplished during a one-week plant shutdown. The system operates twenty hours a day, four days a week, fifty weeks a year. It is operating at better than 98% HCl removal efficiency.

For More Information . . .
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Controlling Hazardous Air Pollutants from a Hazardous Waste Incinerator

The Problem . . .
A major chemical plant's hazardous waste incineration operation needed to be upgraded to meet new stringent EPA Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rules. The wastes generated are primarily high BTU, organic materials that can be effectively managed through combustion. The incineration facility burns about 2000 different waste streams in total quantities exceeding 100 million lb./yr. The wastes include hazardous and non-hazardous liquids, sludge's, containerized solids and bulk solids. Since space was limited, throughput capacity had to be increased, maintenance downtime minimized, and energy usage limited due to existing fan capacity.

The Solution . . .
After investigating several retrofit options with respect to probable emissions performance, capital cost, operating and maintenance cost, residue disposal requirements, reliability and ease of construction, the project team decided to remove the waste heat boilers due to secondary formation of dioxins/furans and maintenance issues and to replace the existing twenty year-old scrubber system. The project team selected an air pollution control system that included a quench, scrubber, and wet electrostatic precipitator.

The jet venturi quench rapidly reduces the combustion gas temperature to saturation, thus limiting the time for dioxin/furan formation reactions to occur. The quench also removes large particulate matter and serves as the first stage acid gas scrubber.

Gas flows from the quench to the condenser/absorber scrubber, which is a multiple rod deck design. Scrubber water is re-circulated through a heat exchanger before distribution at the top of the column, which results in the gas being sub-cooled to well below saturation temperature. Particulate greater than 2 micrometers and HCl are both removed at 99+% efficiency in this device. The sub-cooling of the gas removes condensable organics and metals, and results in the growth of sub-micron particles.

The cooled gas flows from the scrubber to a two-stage wet precipitator system. The wet ESPs achieve 99% collection of sub-micron particulate and heavy metals. This allows considerable flexibility for metals feed rates due to the high overall removal efficiencies provided.

The Result . . .
Under worst case conditions, the new APC system successfully demonstrated performance compliance to all RCRA and MACT standards for particulate, chlorine, low-volatile metals (chromium), semi-volatile metals (lead), mercury, and dioxins/furans (PCDDs) when operated at design conditions. Performance efficiencies were in excess of 99.9% for all pollutants.

The system designed embraces the philosophy of "incremental pollution control", where each component of the APC train has a specific function but, in addition, contributes to the reduction of all pollutants generated in the combustion process.

For More Information . . .
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Destroying Dioxins and Furans in the Baghouse at a Municipal Waste Combustor

The Problem . . .
In 1996, new dioxin rules prompted IVRO to install a powdered activated carbon injection system (PAC) at its municipal waste incinerator in Roeselare, Belgium, to reduce dioxin emission below 0.1 ng(ITEQ)/Nm3. The PAC system operated at 200-230°C. At these temperatures corrosion is minimized, and Spongiacal can be added with screw conveyers. However, the disadvantage of using PAC at high temperatures is the danger of fires in the baghouse. The burning carbon-rich fly ash not only damages the filter bags, but also the dust evacuation equipment. To avoid a plant shutdown, ICVR wanted an alternative technology for dioxin and particulate control.

The Solution . . .
In October of 1998, the plant was equipped with REMEDIA D/F filters, manufactured by W.L. Gore & Associates. This system consists of a GORE-TEX membrane laminated to a catalytically active felt. The felt is composed of chemically active fibers coating a variety of specially produced catalysts. As gases pass through the felt, a catalytic reaction is induced and dioxins/furans are decomposed into harmless gaseous components. The GORE-TEX membrane provides particulate collection, while the catalytic substrate destroys highly toxic gaseous pollutants.

The Result . . .
The REMEDIA D/F catalytic filter system reduced emissions of PCDD/F significantly below 0.1 ng(ITEQ)/Nm3 at 11% O2. The catalytic filters installed three years ago remain active. Several reliability measurements indicate that the measurement company can reliably measure dioxin/furan emissions (+/- 15%) for concentrations as low as 0.01 ng(ITEQ)/Nm3 at 11% O2. In over 100 measurements, the clean gas dust concentrations were below 1 mg/Nm3 (at 11% O2), often below the detection limit of 0.2 mg/Nm3 (at 11% O2).

The plant can operate in compliance with all European environmental rules.

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