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Flexo Sustainable : Year End 2011
Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers Changing the CO2 Equation with Enhanced Energy Efficiency By Jeff Kudronowicz Not long ago, many oxidizer sales presentations would begin with the proud claim that, “Our oxidizers will con- vert your harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into harmless carbon dioxide and water vapor. ” Harmless car- bon dioxide? Needless to say, is not a term used often today. With all the attention given recently to global climate change, greenhouse gases, in particular carbon dioxide, one may start to wonder about the future of a class of equipment that gener- ates carbon dioxide as a desired end product. Why are oxidizers required in the first place? Oxidizers are primarily used to treat VOC-laden exhausts in a wide range of industrial processes. VOCs, by definition, are chemicals made up of primarily different ratios of carbon and hydrogen. When VOCs are burned (oxidized) at a prescribed tempera- ture for a minimum time period, an extremely high percent- age of them are converted to carbon dioxide and water vapor. If these VOCs were not treated and rather released into the air, they would degrade in the presence of sunlight and other naturally occurring chemicals and would contribute to low lying ozone, or smog. This type of ozone can be harmful RTO Schematic: How air flows and heat is transferred in the Anguil Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer. Photos: Anguil Environmental. ExamplE: FORmula FOR ThE OxidaTiOn OF iSOpROpyl alcOhOl C3H7OH + (9/2)02 -> (3)CO2 + (4)H20 Isopropyl Alcohol + Oxygen converts to Carbon Dioxide + Water Vapor www.flexomag.com yEAR-End 2011 Sustainable FLEXO 7