Energy efficiency and emission reduction of TPM, PM2.5, and SO2 from natural gas and fuel oil fired boiler exhausts

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Fully 8% of all of Canada’s energy consumption occurs in gas and fuel oil fired boilers in commercial and institutional facilities1, with proportional amounts of greenhouse gases, particulate matter, and other pollutants. Recently particulate matter, and in particular that smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) has garnered specific attention due to attributed health effects as demonstrated by associated increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits—and even to death from heart or lung diseases2.

The pollution control hierarchy places pollution prevention well above end of pipe pollution control, so reducing energy consumption is the primary way to approach reducing this significant portion of the world’s emissions. In addition, energy conservation meets the most fundamental requirement for a successful large scale emission reduction program – that being a return on investment (ROI) for an emission reduction project.

Condensing heat recovery technologies can easily provide boiler plant efficiency improvements of 10% to 20%, with a directly proportional decrease in all PM2.5, greenhouse gases, and other pollutants. In addition, direct contact condensing heat recovery units (which are wet scrubbers designed for heat recovery applications) can simultaneously provide significant end of pipe reduction in total particulate matter (TPM), PM2.5, and SO2 emissions.

This paper describes a verification program conducted on an existing installation at the Stratford General Hospital in Stratford, Ontario. During normal winter (high load) operation of the boiler plant equipped with a FLU-ACE direct contact condensing heat recovery system, the impact of the system on the boiler plant energy efficiency, and the end of pipe reduction of TPM, PM2.5, and SO2 were simultaneously measured during firing of natural gas and #2 fuel oil.

This paper presents the method and results of this verification program.

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