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Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers
A regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) is a type of air air pollution management equipment that destroys hazardous air pollutants (HAP), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and odorous emissions created throughout industrial processes. RTOs are the most common air air pollution management technology in use today.
RTO technology makes use of combustion at high temperatures to oxidize air pollutants from industrial exhaust streams, which turns them into CO2 and H2O earlier than they’re launched into the atmosphere. The term "regenerative" in regenerative thermal oxidizer comes from the ceramic media heat exchanger, which retains heat from the prior combustion cycle to preheat (and partially oxidize) the pollutant-filled airstream for the following cycle.
Because RTOs have heat recovery of ninety five% as an industry normal, they have the lowest operating value of all thermal oxidizer systems – not to point out the longest service life and highest reliability. Regenerative thermal oxidizers are perfect for process streams with high air stream and low VOC content, achieving VOC destruction of 99%+. It’s even potential for an RTO to operate with no auxiliary fuel use in anyway if process VOC concentration ranges are >/3-4% lower explosive limit (LEL).
(1) A regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) works by pushing a pollutant-filled airstream by means of the oxidizer, usually with a system fan.
(2) The circulation of air through the RTO is managed by valves that direct the airstream into one of heat exchangers (chambers containing ceramic media beds).
(3) RTOs have a minimum of beds of ceramic media (saddles and/or structured media block) used as heat exchangers. As soiled air passes through the first media bed, it absorbs heat from the hot ceramic media, then enters the combustion chamber.
(4) Within the combustion chamber, soiled air is held at temperature (>1500°F) for a selected dwell time (>.5 seconds). This oxidizes VOCs and HAPs into carbon dioxide and water vapor.
(5) Hot, clean air exits the combustion chamber and moves into the second ceramic media bed which absorbs the heat for reuse.
(6) Cooled, clean air is then exhausted into the atmosphere.
The valves (2) change direction every few minutes which reverses the circulation direction, so the heat transfer alternates between the two ceramic media beds. This is what provides RTOs their high fuel effectivity and low operating costs, making them highly desirable VOC abatement systems.
Time, Temperature & Turbulence
Time, temperature and turbulence – aka "The Three T’s"- are critical and co-dependent factors that determine regenerative thermal oxidizer performance.
Time: When airflow is fixed, larger combustion chambers provide longer dwell times. For many applications the dwell time is between .5 and 1 second.
Temperature: The RTO combustion chamber maintains a temperature over 1500°F, which is essential for efficient VOC destruction.
Turbulence: VOCs must mix with sufficient heat and oxygen to set off the chemical reaction (oxidation) that breaks them down into carbon dioxide and water. RTO designs facilitate turbulence to make sure thorough mixing of the polluted process air, increasing VOC destruction efficiency.
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