The most basic type of thermal oxidizer is a direct-fired, also known as an afterburner. As the simplest type of thermal oxidizer, it does not include any heat recovery, heat exchanger, scrubber, adsorbent, or catalyst material. It offers the lowest upfront capital investment cost, but is thermally inefficient, so it requires the most energy to operate. Other thermal oxidizer designs implement a heat recovery mechanism or catalyst to reduce the required reaction temperature.
TKS offers several types of thermal oxidizer:
- Direct-fired thermal oxidizer - no catalyst or heat exchanger, the DFTO is just a burner in a box, and must raise the incoming temperature to 1500 degrees F.
- Recuperative thermal oxidizer - like the DFTO but with one air-to-air heat exchanger (HX) that uses the hot oxidizer exhaust gas to pre-heat the cool incoming inlet gases before they reach the combustion chamber. The thermal recuperative oxidizer (TRO) is 60-70% thermally efficient.
- Aka: Thermal oxidizer with an air-to-air heat exchanger (HX)
- Regenerative themal oxidizer (RTO) - the most thermally efficient type of thermal oxidizer, the regenerative themal oxidizer, or RTO, uses large towers of heavy ceramic blocks to recapture the exiting heat from the RTO's combustion chamber. The RTO is 95% thermally efficient. Most RTOs now offer destruction efficiencies of 98-99% DRE.
- Catalytic thermal oxidizer (CATOX) - the catalytic type thermal oxidizer uses a precious metal catalyst (Palladium, platinum) to lower the reaction temperature from 1500*F to only ~800*F. In the presence of the catalyst, the combustion reaction will complete at a much lower temeprature.
- Regenerative catalytic oxidizer (RCO) - like the CATOX above, but it uses the same ceramic media of the RTO (#3). The RCO is the most expensive type of oxidizer to buy, but the cheapest type to operate as it uses the least amount of natural gas.
Chooisng the right type of thermal oxidizer is a question of air flow volume, incoming VOC concentration, contaminants, and a trade-off between initial capital cost and annual operating costs. Contact TKS Industrial today to let us help you choose the correct type of thermal oxidizer for your needs.