Sustaining Biomass Energy with Effective Refractory Materials
Biomass energy is a tricky resource that humans have been using for hundreds of years. Biomass is organic material that has gone through photosynthesis and as a result, created a store of energy. One form of biomass energy is plants – in this form, energy is moved from one animal to another through the food chain. Combustion is the most common way to take advantage of this naturally occurring source of power – the plant stores carbon dioxide and then it is released to create energy.
In the past two decades, biomass has quickly risen as one of the most widely used renewable energy sources, falling only behind hydropower. Biomass fuels that are in use today originate in wood, crop residue, dry vegetation and water plants. Because of its relatively low cost and ease of accessibility, biomass energy makes up nearly 15 percent of the globe’s energy supply. In developing nations, that ratio is actually closer to 35 percent.
Unfortunately, biomass energy comes with many harmful effects as benefits. On the one hand, if biomass energy completely replaced coal as an alternative fuel source, then there could be a serious decrease in carbon dioxide emissions that lead to the greenhouse effect. However, by burning wood and other plant materials humans are contributing to the deforestation of our planet.
One proposal to solve this issue of deforestation is the implementation of sustainable practices such as tree plantations. However, in order to meet the energy needs of the United States, plantations that cover over one million square miles would need to be created, that’s nearly one-third the size of the 48 contiguous states. Unfortunately it seems that biomass energy is unable to completely substitute the world’s reliance on oil, coal and natural gas. It must be used in tandem with other, less harmful sources of energy like solar and wind.
Even though the renewable energy quandary is yet to be reconciled, many manufacturing companies are utilizing biomass energy. This presents the manufacturer with a unique set of maintenance issues. The refractory lining in biomass units is subjected to abrasive conditions that require frequent repairs.
Combustion Controls Solutions & Environmental Services, Inc. (CCS&ES) offers a special refractory material “Thermbond” that is resistant to abrasive conditions cutting the maintenance schedules in half. Thermbond is a family of engineered castable refractory materials. When mixed, our two-part product forms a unique “Ionically Bonded” refractory material. Thermbond’ s unique technology allows the refractory to bond to its self or other refractories with virtually no cold-joints and is abrasion resistant with high physical strength. In addition this rapid cure refractory also provides: RAPID HEAT UP – Achieves linear heat up rates of 500°F per hour with no holds depending on lining thickness and configuration. This refractory material delivers superior non-wetting characteristics that reduce build up and down time for cold cleaning, thus increasing the efficiency of the Biomass Unit.
Used vs. Foreign
In today’s economic conditions, most companies don’t have the luxury of big budgets for their air pollution controls and emissions abatement programs. There is no doubt companies are looking for every way possible to squeeze the most from every dollar and when it comes to thermal oxidizer systems it could be tempting to purchase a foreign manufactured model. While on the surface, this may seem to have some economic benefits, there are certain precautions that should be taken.
First, the cost to import a thermal oxidizing unit can become significant and if the delivery is not timely, schedules can be adversely affected. Foreign manufactures of thermal oxidizers may also expect specific installation requirements to be performed before the unit is delivered to the site. If these requirements have not been met, the manufacture may not accept responsibility if the installation can’t be performed. Further still, the manufacturer may have to send engineers to the site to complete the installation, or there may be special permits that need to be obtained.
Even if the delivery and installation of the thermal oxidizer are completed successfully, the unit itself may operate differently than expected. Because emissions regulations differ with each country, temperatures and residence times may differ from domestic standards. Parts for long term maintenance of thermal oxidizers may have to be imported from the foreign manufacturer too.
Another option to lower costs is to purchase a used thermal oxidizer system. With the guidance of experienced professionals, used thermal oxidizer units can provide all the benefits of a new system at a fraction of the cost. CCS&ES has always maintained the philosophy that we best serve our customers by providing them with systems, services and products that give them the best possible return on their investment. We know value can be extracted from used thermal oxidizer systems. We can assist operators with the process of planning, locating, evaluating, negotiating, transporting and retrofitting to a model to a new location. Call us today at 419-841-9984!
Because refractory materials come in various forms, it is important to match the right material to the application. Many factors such as shape, density, chemical composition, and additives will make a significant difference in the material’s performance. Instead of dealing with a company that supplies refractory materials to a niche market, consult with independent professionals who have a wide range of knowledge and experience.
Refractory materials, when properly designed and installed can significantly reduce fuel costs.
Refractory failure is usually not because of one factor but is most often caused by a combination of factors such as
- wrong refractory material selected for the operational requirements
- refractory material improperly installed
- refractory material not cured or dried properly
Refractory materials should be selected based on function and form.
Different refractory materials have different benefits but only a professional will know all the pros and cons of using any particular material.
Refractory materials require maintenance and in time will need to be replaced. The most common reasons refractory materials wear down are
- Thermal Shock. Refractory materials are subjected to heating and cooling cycles and when the cooling happens too quickly immediate damage can be done. Even in normal operations, the expanding and contracting will cause normal wear and tear on the refractory materials
- Corrosion. Refractory linings can react with other chemicals during the processes creating potential for damage.
- Mechanical Wear. Movement against the refractory lining can cause wear and damage lessening the structural stability.
- Abrasion: Abrasive materials such as ash or particles can wear down the linings similar to the effects of sandblasting.
- Erosion: Molten metal or movement of other liquids can wear away refractory materials.
The professionals at Combustion Controls Solutions and Environmental Services, Inc. have a thorough understanding of all the refractory materials and are up to date with the latest research and technology in the industry. We have experience in multiple industries and can match the correct refractory materials for your application whether you need repair or extensive turnaround work! Call us today at 419-841-9984
Systems of choice – Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers
Thermal oxidizers are used to oxidize (burn off) the combustible pollutants in exhaust air that has become contaminated as a result of industrial processes. Thermal oxidizers, as the name implies, use high temperatures to break the chemical bonds of the hydrocarbon pollutants which may be referred to as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) or Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs). When the bonds in the pollutants are broken they are converted to carbon dioxide and water vapor rendering them non-toxic.
Thermal oxidizers are prone to be distinguished from one another in several ways. Two broad categories are non-flame oxidizers and direct flame thermal oxidizers. Thermal oxidizers sometimes utilize a catalyst, which creates a category called catalytic thermal oxidizers. A catalyst is a substance that accelerates the rate of a reaction (in this case breaking the chemical bonds of the pollutants). Common catalysts used in catalytic thermal oxidizers are metals such as platinum or rhodium. Use of these catalysts will speed up the reaction because their presence causes the reaction to happen at a much lower temperature. Because they operate at a lower temperature, these units are subjected to a lesser amount of thermal stress which is an advantage when it comes to long-term maintenance of equipment.
The most important distinction between oxidizers, however, is whether they are recuperative or regenerative. The main difference between these two types of systems is the thermal efficiency, and the thermal efficiency is a major factor affecting the operating cost, mainly as it pertains to amount of fuel required to heat the airstream. Recuperative thermal oxidizers have a low thermal efficiency and require high operating temperatures. Regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTOs) also operate at high temperatures; however, their thermal efficiency is much higher. A regenerative thermal oxidizer on average looses only 5% of its energy input compared to 30% for a recuperative oxidizer. The efficiency of the RTO is attributed to its unique air flow design. Because RTOs have a high VOC destruction rate and they are reliable and efficient, the current trend favors them as the current air pollution control system of choice.
While the current trend favors RTOs, it is highly recommended that professional advice be sought before making a decision for your operation. In reality many factors, such as type and concentration of pollutants, will determine the best system for your needs. In addition, the highly technical nature of these systems, the advances in technology, state and federal regulations, and considerations for long term maintenance and affordability are more reasons you should consult professionals.
CCS&ES has the professionals you can count on. Our engineers and technicians have education, training and hands-on experience second to none. We have serviced over 3,000 units from the very simple to the very complex and across a variety of industries. We can help you with new systems, or assist you with a broad range of after-market services including engineering, planned or emergency maintenance, retrofits or rebuilds. Contact us today at 419-841-9984!
Biggest gains in air quality and energy savings seen in passive technologies.
With the rise of passive energy technologies, companies formerly using huge amounts of energy and barely controlling emissions are quickly becoming the major players in efficiency and environmental responsibility. While upfront costs may appear daunting, several manufacturers have come to see the huge potential for investment in energy recovery technology. Through the use of energy recovery and regenerative energy sources, industrial concerns are able to save money, cut energy use and through scale offer the greatest positive impact to the environment.
Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs) are among the most exciting passive energy recovery technologies that have swept through manufacturing. Plants which used heat in the production process – think steel mills – formerly took huge pains to vent that heat from a plant. Now, manufacturers are looking to trap heat from the manufacturing process in order to create steam for on-site generators. In many instances, excess heat from a production process can provide enough energy through a HRSG to power an entire plant and create a surplus for the outbound power grid.
It is one thing to hope that a manufacturer could cut its power consumption, but few people thought it possible to contribute to the power grid through production. That’s one of the giant benefits of passive energy technology.
Another passive technology offers both energy savings and pollution controls. Regenerative catalytic oxidizers – or RCO – give manufacturers the ability to destroy volatile organic compounds (VOCs) created during the production of fuels, pesticides and paints. Formerly, this process required burners operating at nearly 1,000 degrees Celsius to destroy VOCs while burning off a ton of fuel. But with the RCO technology, those compounds are blown through a catalyst bed to transform them into sub-compounds that can be destroyed at much lower temperatures. The drop in temperature, and resulting drop in fuel, creates a huge saving in fuel and money.
The regenerative nature of an RCO also means the heat passing through the system is returned to an exchanger to keep the ambient temperatures inside the reaction chamber at a constant level without additional burning. Once the device is heated, it typically needs very little in the way of fuel to maintain an operational temperature, again saving fuel and money.
And RCO technology is nearly without maintenance. The only time a manufacturer would seek regenerative thermal oxidizer repair is in the flow control valves for gases, or to replace the components of the catalyst bed. Also, some maintenance for fouling, the deposits from the VOCs, may call for regenerative thermal oxidizer repair.
Through the use of heat exchange, energy is saved, fuel is conserved, money stays in the bank and the air gets cleaner.
Oxidizer equipment repair preserves efficiency, safety
Operators looking to maintain the efficiency and safety of thermal oxidizing equipment for pollution control are best served finding a trusted service partner. Emission control engineers and regenerative thermal oxidizer technicians have specific experience in managing the service and repair of oxidizer equipment. Finding and fixing points of stress, these professionals preserve the operational efficiency for industrial enterprises destroying volatile organic compounds (VOCs) through the use of regenerative thermal oxidation. Operators can rely on the maintenance plans developed by regenerative thermal oxidizer technicians to keep plants running safely, productively and profitably.
The first priority of regenerative thermal oxidizer technicians and engineers is to protect the safety of plant employees. Through continuous exposure to corrosive gas and extreme heat in the destruction process of VOCs, regenerative thermal oxidizers can pose a major safety risk with only minor exterior evidence of malfunction. Trained technicians expertly evaluate and easily diagnosis these problems well before they cause a safety concern. Early detection and correction keeps plants safe.
Closely aligned with safety is the continued efficiency of thermal oxidizer equipment. Regenerative thermal oxidizers rely on well-maintained heat-recovery systems to efficiently destroy VOCs in the emissions stream. Moreover, the management of the waste stream and accurate monitoring of VOC loads is crucial to operations. Experienced regenerative thermal oxidizer technicians can wring the most efficiency from operational controls with updated materials and tuning equipment to fit custom applications.
Partnering with trusted regenerative thermal oxidizer technicians should include developing and executing a custom preventative maintenance plan. Avoiding emergencies – with the associated high cost of urgent service and downtime – is the best investment a plant manager can make. With planning and commitment, expert technicians can save huge expenses. With careful implementation and monitoring, operators can leverage decades of use out of these pieces of equipment despite constant abuse.
Experienced regenerative thermal oxidizer technicians preserve safety and efficiency of pollution controls for any operator. From planning and appraisal, through scheduled maintenance, these professionals are the frontline to continued operational capacity.
Heat recovery saves fuel and expense while boosting pollution controls
Saving costs while ramping up efficiency is the goal of any project integrating regenerative thermal oxidizer products into air pollution controls. With designs able to capture up to 96 percent of operational heat, regenerative oxidizers are among the most economical, efficient means of destroying volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in air pollutant emissions. By saving supplementary fuel, these emissions control devices aid the environment while scrubbing out hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from industrial exhaust.
Regenerative thermal oxidizer products diminish operational expense while maintaining nearly perfect VOC destruction capability. Stoneware beds retain heat from the oxidation process in a combustion chamber – in some cases requiring zero supplemental fuel when VOC levels are high enough to act as a fuel source on their own. This self-sustaining process relies on precision equipment and monitoring. Understanding the flow of emissions, adjusting temperatures in a combustion chamber to fit those needs and carefully documenting all processes are each steps in achieving consistent operation.
Consistent and efficient operation of regenerative thermal oxidizer products not only aids the environment with VOC and HAP destruction, but also keeps operators in regulatory compliance. With myriad regulations for air quality standards at the federal, state and municipal levels, these thermal oxidizer products keep plant managers in perfect step with legislation. By destroying nearly 100 percent of all HAPs in a waste stream, operators avoid conflict and expense with regulators. Not only are fines avoided, but resulting legal implications and possible forced downtime is sidestepped in one easy purchase.
Regenerative thermal oxidizer products installed and maintained by experts also protects the safety of operator employees. Operating in excess of 900 degrees Fahrenheit, there is no room for error with thermal oxidizer safety measures. With the right maintenance partner or installation consultant, regenerative thermal oxidizer products operate safely for decades at a time.
Operators save fuel, expense and time with regenerative pollution controls
Air pollution controls were not invented with the introduction of regenerative thermal oxidizer equipment, but these precision devices revolutionized the efficiency and cost impact of keeping industrial emissions free of hazardous air pollutants. Regenerative thermal oxidizers came into vogue with operators looking to conserve heat energy expended through direct combustion of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This early pollution control process, introduced following the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970, used vast amounts of supplemental fuel, costing a great deal and adding undo energy consumption to the pollution control process. Regenerative thermal oxidizer equipment improved energy efficiency so radically that in some cases it curtailed the use of supplemental fuel all together.
The solution provided by regenerative thermal oxidizer equipment is fairly simple, but requires understanding of the oxidation reaction process. A stream of VOC-laden emissions from industrial processes enters a chamber containing a heated stoneware bed. As the gas heats and rises, it approaches oxidization temperature. It then enters a combustion chamber where a small jet of heat may be applied to destroy the pre-heated VOCs in the gas. A valve opens, releasing the gas into a second stoneware chamber, heating the ceramic bed as the gas sinks while cooling. The entire stream, now void of VOCs and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) exits as carbon dioxide. A new valve opens, allowing more VOC loaded gas to enter the freshly heated second stoneware bed, before starting the cycle in reverse across the combustion process.
This regenerative technique has profound implications on the efficiency and cost of industrial emissions controls. With the use of regenerative thermal oxidizer equipment, operators save up to 96% in normal operating conditions on supplemental fuel use – the major ongoing operating expense with traditional direct-fired oxidizer units. At the same time, the VOC and HAP destruction rate stays at nearly 100 percent, assuring compliance. While a larger capital investment at purchase, fuel savings alone over the course of 10 or more years of service assures that regenerative thermal oxidizer equipment is among the best investments for pollution controls.
Scheduled service plans also save money and time.
Solid planning and habitual monitoring are key strategies to saving huge costs on regenerative thermal oxidizer maintenance. Thermal oxidizing equipment relies on precision monitoring and valve equipment to insure complete efficiency; along with well-maintained stoneware beds to retain heat energy. Finding a technical partner to guide you through the creation of a routine maintenance schedule will save time and money by early avoidance of costly repairs and outages. Managing regenerative thermal oxidizer maintenance side steps emergency measures, keeping operators in compliance and worry-free.
Regenerative thermal oxidizer maintenance requires access to, and expert familiarity with, a number of components specific to these devices. Valve systems, with timed and complicated moving parts, are one source of failure that requires constant scrutiny. Stoneware beds used in capturing heat energy can be fouled from constant exposure to corrosive compounds and high heats, diminishing their efficiency. These components are designed for years of service under stress, but only to the extent experts in regenerative thermal oxidizer maintenance monitor them for failure.
The solution is easy. Operators team with consultants and expert technicians versed in the specific repair of thermal oxidizers to develop a routine maintenance plan. These partnerships assure quality service and keep parts on hand to quickly handle any regenerative thermal oxidizer maintenance issue. With routine maintenance and planned downtime, the lifetime efficiency of a thermal oxidizing unit actually climbs. Avoiding emergency outages is what keeps operators in compliance and out of the red with rushed repairs.
Operators can save themselves time and money with planned regenerative thermal oxidizer repair and partnerships with expert technicians. Otherwise, the integrity, and even safety, of their air pollution control systems may be put into jeopardy. Making the upfront investment in scheduled service pays big dividends over time.
Reliable pollution controls are available at a discount with the right provider
Not every operator can make a large upfront capital expense in new equipment, but still want the long-term cost savings of regenerative technology for their industrial air pollution controls. Thankfully, with the guidance of expert engineers and technicians, it is possible to purchase used regenerative thermal oxidizer units with the same reliability, efficiency and cost savings as a new or custom installation. By partnering with a firm deep in experience with regenerative thermal oxidizers, operators can extract the benefit without the worry of purchasing substandard or overworked devices. It’s a win-win situation for every party involved.
The first step in finding a used regenerative thermal oxidizer would come in planning and consultation to make sure this solution fits an operator’s business. While used thermal oxidizers could present a tremendous value, the use of certain models relies on the flow of VOCs, placement, heat generation and a number of other factors. Should the application be a fit for models available on the market, an operator’s consulting partner then helps in negotiating a fair price based on the hours of use, fouling and any retrofitting required to move the model into a new application.
Once onsite, a used regenerative thermal oxidizer requires the aid of expert technicians for installation and tuning to a specific application. In some cases, modifications with custom fabricated parts are also necessary. Only engineers experienced in emissions flow, VOC and HAP loads, and specific combustion capabilities should plan and execute a retrofit. Once the tuning and installation are complete, the employees and onsite engineers are trained in the management of the device. As well, a routine maintenance plan is developed and parts are ordered for onsite replacement in the event of an emergency malfunction.
Value can easily be extracted from used regenerative thermal oxidizer equipment, but only with the guidance of experience professionals. Operators can find partners to help them unlock this money saving technology without a giant purchase expense.
Purified air concentrators with rotary technology reduce costs
Rotor concentrators employ rotary technology in combination with thermal and catalytic oxidizers to reduce physical size, energy use and recurring costs. For operators with high volumes of exhaust flow with low concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), these purified air concentrators can significantly reduce operating expenses while making more efficient use of valuable space in the plant environment.
Rotating concentrators provide a continuous stream of highly concentrated VOC-laden air to reduce the dependence on supplemental fuel during thermal oxidation. The process of concentration begins with a high volume of air with a low VOC concentration passing through a rotating absorption bed, releasing purified air as exhaust. The trapped VOCs rotate through the purified air concentrators to a separate stream where they are released in a desorption process. The VOCs are kept in higher concentrations by a constant, low-volume flow of heated air. The oxidizer abates the remaining hazardous air pollutants.
The high concentrations of VOCs reduce expense by lowering operating temperatures along with the need for supplemental fuel. Each specific client application receives absorption materials custom-designed to meet the unique needs for the waste stream. A fully integrated control system – including computer-assisted control panels and field bus integration – are included for each rotor concentrators. Clients receive proprietary design and custom materials for exceptional quality.
Purified air concentrators employ compact, skid-mounted designs to save space and ease installation. The units are easily expandable, in contrast to more expensive fixed designs. The simple, continuous design reduces the opportunity for malfunction, corrosion potential in the media and risk for fire. These advantages of rotor concentrators in combination with thermal oxidizers are completed with VOC destruction rates and initial capital expense comparable to fixed design units.
The industry standard for NOx control technology
Control of toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) calls for selective catalytic reduction systems (SCR). This air pollution control technology blends the exhaust waste streams with a reagent chemical – anhydrous ammonia, aqueous ammonia or urea – before passing the combination over a catalyst bed. Total NOx reduction takes place in the SCR systems through the resulting chemical reaction, transforming the previously hazardous air pollutants into harmless water and nitrogen.
This reduction chemistry is at the heart of selective catalytic reduction systems NOx control for particulate emission. Using either anhydrous ammonia or aqueous ammonia as the reagent chemical, the process can be expressed through the following equations:
4NO + 4NH3 + O2 → 4N2 + 6H2O
2NO2 + 4NH3 + O2 → 3N2 + 6H2O
NO + NO2 + 2NH3 → 2N2 + 3H2O
The use of urea as the reagent chemical for SCR Systems is expressed in the following equation:
4NO + 2(NH2)2CO + O2 → 4N2 + 4H2O + 2CO2
NOx control through selective catalytic reduction systems requires close attention to design and implementation of the SCR catalyst. The three fundamental elements of the design – proper size, composition and space velocity – take into account the ideal operating temperature range, the viscosity of the reagent chemical mixture, and the carefully estimated flow of NOx for abatement.
The design of SCR systems also rigorously controls the flow of ammonia to meet environmental requirements. The exacting standards and tuning of selective catalytic reduction systems are essential in meeting the specific requirements for each unique application.
All NOx control systems and stores of prepared reagent chemicals are fully integrated into all plant operations. Monitoring for the ideal reaction temperatures – between 440.33-836.33 degrees Fahrenheit depending on residence time – is easily maintained with integrated controls. Minimum temperatures required for the catalytic reaction to assure NOx control and compliance remains dependant on fuel types and catalyst geometry.
SCR systems are often used in conjunction with regenerative and recuperative thermal oxidizers to form a completely integrated air pollution control solution.
Contact the experts in selective catalytic reduction system design and implementation at Combustion Controls Solutions & Environmental Services today for a consultation.