How conditions affect cookies and air pollution control solutions

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Courtesy of Catalytic Products International (CPI)

Chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorite treats. Butter, sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla, and, of course, chocolate chips. Combine the ingredients together and you get a delicious cookie. Somehow, using the same ingredients the cookies do not always turn out the same. Sometimes they are thinner and crispier. Other times, they are soft and chewy. After watching cooking shows, I have come to understand there are many factors that determine the final product. Conditions like freshness of ingredients, temperature of butter and cooking time can affect how your cookies turn out. Similarly, there are a wide range of conditions that may occur during the air pollution control application process that affect the recommended technology solution.

In our blog, “What’s the best air pollution control technology for my process”, we reviewed the factors involved in determining which technology solution is best for your process. While it is important for the plant's engineering staff to discuss the application data with potential suppliers, the wide range of conditions that may occur during the application process must also be discussed. This way, the air pollution control equipment supplier can direct the customer to the appropriate Best Available Control Technology (BACT) or Maximum Available Control Technology (MACT). 

The Problem

A chemical company was adding to their process which put them over the EPA threshold for volatile organic compound (VOC's ) emissions. The customer was diligent to purchase the capital equipment within their budget and have the lowest operating expense as possible. Believing that regenerative (RTO) was the best technology for them, they purchased an RTO. Unfortunately, they ran into complications within the first year of operation.  

The RTO system was fitted with a Continuous Emission Monitor (CEM). Anytime the CEM records a high VOC concentration the client was obligated to report this event to the state EPA office as a “non-compliant event.” In their wide range of conditions, the process would produce solvent loading spikes and changes in air volume, which created numerous high temperature shut-downs and instances of high-stack VOC concentrations. And all of these “non-compliant events” needed to be reported to EPA.  

The Solution

After a thorough analysis of all process conditions, it was determined that the RTO’s hot gas bypass was not capable of allowing continuous VOC destruction across the wide range of conditions delivered.  We recommended the use of our VECTOR Catalytic Oxidizer with a high efficiency primary heat exchanger and a fully modulating hot gas bypass.  The small profile system was installed directly next to the RTO, which minimized downtime and retro-fitted to the CEM system.  The unit was proven to operate at +99% DRE even during the highest VOC inlet loading and the system uses less natural gas than the RTO.  The systems offer 100% reliability and the reportable non-compliant events have been eliminated.

As is very common, many air pollution control equipment manufacturers have abandoned recuperative technology in favor of focusing on regenerative technology. And while in theory, the RTO would work in the standard condition, a change in the “recipe” caused a number of “non-compliant events.”  CPI is a full-line supplier of VOC abatement systems. Therefore, when we analyze your application we recommend what is best not what is popular.

Through our knowledge of air pollution control systems and our desire to provide the most cost-effective solution for our clients, CPI was able to help this customer resolve their issues in a satisfactory manner and ensure that they were able to operate efficiently for years to come.

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