”Catalytic VOC oxidation has been an excellent VOC elimination method in our paint plant”, Pekka Kotilainen, Environmental Manager, Tikkurila Oyj, FIN

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Tikkurila has been succesfully treating VOC emissions in paint production with catalytic VOC incinerator for years

For already 17 years, Tikkurila has been treating the VOC emissions in Finland’s paint production plant with the first regenerative catalytic VOC oxidizer on the market. Catalytic incineration has proven to be a very applicable, easy and effective way to respond to environmental challenges. The oxidizer also meets today’s strict environmental permission requirements.

In the beginning of 1990s, the Finland’s environmental authorities required Tikkurila paint factory to start managing hydrocarbon emissions released in the decorative paint manufacturing process. These emissions were found harmful to the air quality and ground-level ozone. A pilot catalytic VOC incinerator, developed by Formia’s current technology director Reijo Lylykangas, offered Tikkurila an effective solution for eliminating these large amounts of VOC emissions. Unpleasant hydrogen sulfide odor and other smelly compounds released in the paint adhesive production reaction were removed with the same incinerator.

Catalytic VOC incineration is an excellent and reliable solution
Although the share of water-based products is continuously increasing, the solvent-based paints will still dominate for a long time, especially in industrial painting”, estimates Pekka Kotilainen, the Environmental Manager of Tikkurila. “The EU legislation requires solvent using activities, e.g. painting shops, to decrease VOC emissions under certain limit values. Switching to water-based products is one way to comply with regulations – provided that there are competitive solvent-free products available. Another option is to continue with proven solvent-based paints, complemented with treatment system of the volatile solvents. Catalytic incineration is an excellent choice for doing this”, states Kotilainen.

The catalytic VOC oxidizer has been operating in three shifts for nearly all the time in Tikkurila during the years. The company is to follow strict environmental permit conditions, which comprehensively limit the plant’s emissions into air, water and soil. These emissions are precisely monitored. Internal VOC emission measurement is conducted four times a year and an accredited research laboratory makes comparative follow-up measuring every second year. “According to VOC legislation, the emission limit value for the incinerator is 100 mg C/Nm3. Also reliability is an essential requirement, as the oxidizer is expected to be operational minimum 96% of the adhesive plant operation time. There hasn’t been any problems with either of these conditions during the years”, tells Kotilainen. “The VOC oxidizer operates fully automatically and needs no daily or weekly actions. Our monitoring routine includes checking of temperature on the control panel located in the monitoring room three times a day. An external visual and hearing perception of the equipment is made once a week”, explains Rainer Lanaeus, the HVAC Supervisor of the Tikkurila Maintenance department.

Service and maintenance measures of the VOC oxidizer have been systematically registered at Tikkurila. The most common measures have been replacing of valve gaskets and heating resistors. The incinerator is shut down for oil change twice a year, and currently the filters are changed after one and half year’s time. “Operation of the catalysts has not perceptibly weakened during the long working life, although mostly sulfur compounds and other strongly smelly compounds are treated during the nights”, tells Lanaeus. This is due to the fact that a noble metal catalyst, similar to those in millions of cars and trucks, is used. Noble metals Platinum and Palladium in the PGM catalyst don’t react with sulfur like basic metal oxide catalysts do.

Today's VOC technology is remarkably compact and energy efficient
This VOC oxidizer is the first regenerative catalytic VOC oxidizer on the market, representing the ancestor of Formia Smart VOCTM oxidizers. It is relatively large in terms of concentration dimensioning, mechanical structure and size. The current Smart VOCTM oxidizer product family is based on the same catalytic incineration technology, but due to an innovative structure, the oxidizers are approximately tenfold smaller in size. Also energy consumption has been decreased to one tenth compared to the pilot oxidizer.

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