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FLEXO Magazine : March 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES 10 TIPS FOR MAXIMIZING HEAT RECOVERY FROM YOUR OXIDIZER AND REDUCING OPERATING COSTS Bv Mike Scholz More and more, companies operating air pollution control equipment today realize that the initial capital cost of an oxi- dizer system can be rapidly eclipsed by continued operating expenses if careful attention is not periodically given to the system. Below are 10 tips to ensure your oxidizer is operating at peak performance. The first five focus on parameters end- users should know about their oxidizer systems, while the last five address energy reduction projects to be considered. 1. KNOW HOW MUCH YOUR OXIDIZER IS SUPPOSED TO BE COSTING YOU TO OPERATE. It is surprising how many facilities cannot answer the fol- lowing two questions: · How much is operating our oxidizer expected to cost? · How close is our oxidizer operating to that expected value? The "out of site, out of mind" approach is entirely too prevalent these days when it comes to air pollution control equipment. While that speaks highly for the reliability of sys- tems installed today, it also hints at a blind spot around the day-to-day operating cost of oxidizer systems. With relatively minimal inputs, oxidizer vendors can run a performance model for you and give you the expected operating cost range for your oxidizer system. 2. PAY ATTENTION TO THE PERCENTAGES. After five years of operation, a regenerative thermal oxi- dizer (RTO) originally designed for 95 percent TER (thermal energy recovery) may have slipped to 93 percent TER. This might not sound like a big deal, and this may go unnoticed by even the most attentive maintenance department. However, an average sized RTO (25,000SCFM) operating for a full year at 93 percent TER verses 95 percent TER could cost upwards of an additional $65,000 each year! Percentage points do count over the course of a year. Get to know the critical parameters to watch as your system ages. 3. KNOW YOUR VOC LOADS-ESPECIALLY THE AMPLITUDE AND DURATION OF PEAKS. Often, it is peak VOC (volatile organic compound) loads that determine your oxidizer design, but average VOC loads that determine your oxidizer operating cost. When an oxidizer is specified, designed and installed, oftentimes it is the an- ticipated VOC loading peaks that dictate the amount of heat recovery incorporated. Typically, estimates for a future "worst case scenario" are made to ensure a conservative approach is taken. After a couple years of operation, it may be time to examine whether the design was too conservative and the peak solvent usage is much lower than originally estimated. - Operating an oxidizer designed to handle a theoretical peak loading may be costing you much more than necessary for your actual day-to-day production loading. 4. KNOW WHAT OXIDIZER SYSTEM WOULD BE SPECIFIED FOR YOUR PROCESS TODAY. Finding out exactly what would be specified to treat your process exhaust today is a valuable exercise-especially if your existing equipment is in need of significant repairs or upgrades. Knowing what would be specified in today's energy conscious market can serve to illuminate cost effective up- grades to your existing equipment. For instance, five to 10 years ago, an RTO with 90 percent heat recovery may have been specified to treat your process exhaust. Today, oxidizer vendors may prescribe an RTO with 95 or 96 percent heat recovery and a hot gas bypass damper to deal with high VOC loading periods. If your existing oxidizer system is due for repairs, one can also determine whether it would be cost effective to upgrade to today's standards at the same time. Alternatively, it may be a completely different oxidation technology specified today. With today's control schemes, RTOs have expanded their applicability greatly over past years, while also dropping significantly in initial capital cost. Knowing exactly what would be specified today can save you from sinking too much money into an outdated oxidizer system. 5. KNOW WHAT GRANT MONEY IS AVAILABLE TO YOU. Energy reduction upgrades to existing equipment will have an associated initial capital cost. This can be significantly re- duced with grant money from local utility companies. Across the country, money has been earmarked for the specific pur- pose of funding energy reduction projects. Know what grant money is available to you, whom to contact, when and how to apply. The main intent of these programs is to take upgrade projects that you (or your management) may be on the fence about and contribute the funds necessary to make them very attractive. 6. CONCENTRATE HIGH VOLUME. LOW VOC AIRSTREAMS PRIOR TO OXIDIZER. If a significant portion of the air entering your oxidizer is at or near ambient temperature with low levels ofVOC loading, a VOC concentrator may be applicable for reducing the heat input required by your oxidizer system. As a result of recent regulations, many facilities around the country have been forced to improve localized VOC capture as well as prove high destruction efficiency in their oxidizer MARCH 2009 www.flexography.org FLEXO
Sustainable Winter 2009