What is a Thermal Catalytic Oxidizer?

A thermal catalytic oxidizer is a thermal oxidation system–such as a regenerative thermal oxidizer or a recuperative thermal oxidizer–where a catalyst is added to the process to transform the exhaust for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) into CO2, water and excess heat which are safely released into the atmosphere.

Catalytic oxidizer setup

Basically, this catalyst allows the VOCs and HAPs to be processed at a lower temperature which saves the customer a significant amount of money because they don’t have to buy the extra fuel and time necessary to heat the system to the much higher temperature to destroy them.

This can be a tricky process though. Catalysts must be carefully selected to work with specific compounds and the amounts of those compounds present in the process stream. If the process stream changes somehow, either by adding some other compound to the process stream, or adding more or less of the selected compounds to be treated into the process stream, the catalyst might not be as effective and can even fail to transform the contaminants at all.

Getting the Right Mix for a Thermal Catalytic Oxidizer

As you can see, adding a catalyst to a thermal oxidizer requires a lot of specialized knowledge and engineering skill to set up an effective thermal oxidizer system that destroys the VOCs and HAPs quickly, completely and at the lowest possible cost.

Catalytic oxidizer site

At Epcon, our project engineers can help select the best possible setup–whether it is a recuperative thermal oxidizer, a regenerative thermal oxidizer, or some other configuration–to process the VOCs. Because Epcon’s engineers have experience working with catalyst manufacturers all over the world, they know how to pair the right catalyst with the right thermal oxidizer equipment to help reduce your operating costs.

Many thermal oxidizers are designed without the use catalysts, as the cost to install and replace the catalyst in the system can be very expensive. However, sometimes a catalyst is necessary or produces the optimal solution to a unique process stream.  Our engineers carefully assess the process and application, and then evaluate all options through engineering and cost studies to determine if a catalytic thermal oxidizer is the best solution for the customer’s operating needs.

Looking to Add a Catalyst to Your Thermal Oxidizer Setup?

Contact one of our thermal oxidizer engineering experts at (936) 273-3300, email us at epcon@epconlp.com, or complete our simple online contact form, to get the information you need. With over 40 years of thermal oxidizer design experience, Epcon knows how to select and engineer the perfect thermal oxidizer equipment and catalyst combination to minimize the cost of your air pollution control system.

What is the Difference Between a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer and a Recuperative Thermal Oxidizer?

The main difference between a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) and Recuperative Thermal Oxidizer is the different methods they use for heat recovery in the system. Regenerative Oxidizers pass hot exhaust gas and cooler inlet gas through one or more “heat exchanger beds” containing ceramic media. Recuperative Oxidizers pass hot exhaust through an air-to-air heat exchanger–typically through a shell and tube heat exchanger design–to heat the cooler inlet gas.

Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers (RTOs)

Used to destroy Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as hydrocarbons, solvents and other hazardous air pollutants, Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers are the most common air pollution control equipment in use today.

Regenerative thermal oxidizer

Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers typically run at higher temperatures than Recuperative Thermal Oxidizers somewhere between 815 °C (1,500 F) to 980 °C (1,800 F) and have better heat recovery efficiency–up to 95%. Epcon achieves this through the use of multiple energy recovery chambers that use ceramic media to store the heat produced to be used to pre-heat other systems.

Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers work best when processing low VOC concentrations and require long, continuous operations. Some examples of where RTOs work best are for processes that require ventilation to work properly, such as paint booths, paper mills and printing facilities.

Thermal Recuperative Oxidizers

Thermal recuperative oxidizers are less commonly used than direct fired thermal oxidizers or regenerative thermal oxidizers, but are a natural evolution of the direct fired thermal oxidizer by adding primary and/or secondary heat recovery to the setup. They run cooler than RTOs, at about 760° C or 1400° F and have a much lower heat recovery efficiency, up to 80%. But they also tend to have a higher VOC destruction efficiency of 99.99% when compared to an RTO that can only produce a 99% destruction efficiency even in the best of conditions.

Recuperative thermal oxidizer

Adding a heat recovery system to an oxidation process can greatly reduce the amount of natural gas used within the process and result in a tremendous savings in energy costs. There are two types of heat recovery used by thermal recuperative oxidizers.

Primary heat recovery occurs when the process exhaust vent stream gets directed through a heat exchanger. This crosses the outlet of the oxidizer exhaust, before the inlet to the oxidizer. This recovers (recuperates) heat from the exhaust to pre-heat the air entering the combustion chamber, which reduces the amount of heating necessary for the process, as well as the gas needed to reach oxidation temperatures.

Secondary heat recovery occurs when you use waste heat from the oxidizer to support a secondary process such as providing heat for an industrial oven, or wash lines for multi-stage washers. This occurs when directing either fresh air or process air through a heat exchanger, which crosses the outlet of the oxidizer exhaust, and sends it to a secondary process. This recuperated heat from the exhaust is often enough to complete drying or curing operations. The energy savings alone can repay your investment in your equipment in one year’s time.

Recuperative Thermal Oxidizers work best for processes where waste liquids need to be treated, for animal feed production, coil coating, and automotive dyno testing.

Need a Thermal Oxidizer? Let Epcon Industrial Engineer the Perfect One for You!

Whether it is a regenerative or recuperative thermal oxidizer, Epcon has over 40 years of thermal oxidizer design experience and knows how to select and engineer the perfect air pollution control system for you. Give us a call at (936) 273-3300, email us at epcon@epconlp.com, or complete our simple online contact form to speak to a thermal oxidizer engineering expert today.

5 Qualities to Look for in Excellent Thermal Oxidizer Manufacturers

Thermal oxidizers are complex, technical products that many companies depend on to keep their businesses running and in compliance with environmental regulations. But what qualities should you be looking for when selecting an excellent thermal oxidizer manufacturer? Here are some factors to consider:

1 – Industry Specific Knowledge

Thermal oxidizers are a mainstay in many different industries. This includes energy production, oil and natural gas production, chemical, pharmaceutical, and many types of industrial manufacturing just to name a few.

Each industry has its own set of unique challenges and guidelines and standards that need to be followed. An excellent thermal oxidizer manufacturer should have in-depth knowledge of, and practical hands-on experience working on projects within your industry.

2 – Dedicated Engineering Staff

Engineering is the most important component of a solid thermal oxidizer manufacturer. Without excellent chemical and mechanical engineers leading the development on your project, the likelihood of success is greatly reduced. The engineering staff should be involved in every part of the thermal oxidizer manufacturing process, from requirements gathering before the sales through support and service after the sale, having dedicated engineers familiar with your project is essential for its success.

Engineers for thermal oxidizer manufacturers

3 – Maintenance and Support

Getting a thermal oxidizer constructed, installed, up and running is only a small part of the process. Once a thermal oxidizer is active, problems with the process or the hardware will be uncovered. And adjustments, such as replacing parts, re-piping or re-wiring, or modifying a process to improve heat transfer effectiveness or fuel consumption rates will be necessary to make sure that the thermal oxidizer setup is working well.

Having the ability to work on-site to test, troubleshoot and resolve problems is essential in an excellent thermal oxidizer manufacturer. The manufacturer should also be able to train your staff in the proper and safe use of the equipment as well as be available to answer any questions you might have about the installation.

4 – Experience with Different Types of Thermal Oxidizers

There are several different types of thermal oxidizers that can be employed based on a client’s specific needs. Selecting a regenerative thermal oxidizer, a recuperative thermal oxidizer or a catalytic oxidizer is an important decision and a good thermal oxidizer manufacturer should have a lot of experience with each approach to thermal oxidation.

5 – Ability to Customize Solutions

In thermal oxidizer manufacturing, there are no “out of the box” solutions. Every installation will have a unique set of challenges, requirements and environmental factors to consider. So, your thermal oxidizer manufacturer must be able to identify and address these issues quickly and translate them into requirements for your installation.

Epcon is the Excellent Thermal Oxidizer Manufacturer You Are Looking For

At Epcon Industrial Systems, we specialize designing and building “uncommon systems for uncommon applications.” Let our engineering team put together thermal oxidizer design that meets your specific needs. For more information, complete our simple Get a Quote form, call us at (936) 273-3300, or send us an email at epcon@epconlp.com.