Don’t Let Profits Go Up In Smoke

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Courtesy of The CMM Group, LLC

In today’s competitive economy, few businesses have “money to burn.” For manufacturing companies that installed air pollution control systems more than seven to 10 years ago, though, these older, less efficient systems could literally be “burning money” by operating inefficient electric motors and by allowing large amounts of useable heat energy to be
vented directly out the exhaust stacks. Historically, air pollution control systems had been designed using integrated air-to-air heat exchanger units ranging from 40 percent to 70 percent thermal efficiency. Therefore, these older units capture and reuse only 40 percent to 70 percent of the heat that is required to thoroughly destroy the manufacturing facility’s harmful air pollutants. To meet EPA pollutant destruction requirements, catalytic oxidizers typically operate at 650°F (343°C); thermal oxidizers operate at temperatures ranging from 1,400 to 1,800°F (760 to 982°C). Depending upon the air pollution control system design, exhaust stack temperatures can vary between 250 and 1,500°F (121 and 816°C). The heat required to operate these systems comes from large natural-gasfired burners. As the cost of energy
continues to rise, the importance of operating an energy-efficient system becomes a higher priority. Achieving higher thermal efficiency by design has been possible for many years, but it was typically considered to be cost prohibitive
as a capital purchase. However, a financial payback analysis that considers current, higher energy costs may favor a change.

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