Catalytically Stabilized Thermal Incineration of Volatile Organic Compounds

EPA Contract Number: 68D10103
Title: Catalytically Stabilized Thermal Incineration of Volatile Organic Compounds
Investigators: Pfefferle, William
Small Business: Precision Combustion, Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: September 1, 1991 through September 1, 1995
Project Amount: $150,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (1991) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , SBIR - Air Pollution , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Catalytically stabilized thermal incineration of volatile organic compounds (VOCS) uses catalytic surface reaction to stabilize lean plug flow radical-enhanced thermal incin- eration, resulting in ultra-high destruction at low residence time of hazardous organics in any fume or air stream including those laden with particulates (whether organic such as cotton or grain dusts or inorganic submicron par- ticles). Phase I work achieved ultra-high destruction levels of five sample VOCS: methylene chloride, toluene, methyl ethyl ketone, trichloroethylene, and ethyl benzene. Destruc- tion in all tests was beyond detection limits. In the lowest detection limit test, 50 ppmv inlet concentration of methyl- ene chloride was burned in a residence time of 17 millisec- onds to below the detection limit of 2 parts per trillion (ptt). The 99.999995+% destruction and removal efficiency (DRE) for a chlorinated inlet starting at a low concentration is unique. Submicron and micron level particulate matter was not a problem in the tests. Separate early-stage modeling underway in an NSF project indicates that this result is a reasonable one to expect from the system and that destruc- tion to sub-ppt level should be feasible even from highly concentrated fumes.

Design work also proceeded integrating this catalytically stabilized thermal incinerator into a gas turbine, with the result that the fuel is converted into high-value electricity. For units of moderate size in most situations, the value of the electricity exceeds all capital and operating costs. For smaller units, the electricity subsidizes the cost, reducing net costs to below the costs of alternate, lower DRE technologies.

In Phase II, Precision Combustion, Inc., will further develop the burner, testing a wider range of conditions and contaminants, demonstrating longer term durability, and finalizing a field unit design to fit into a program such as the Emerging Technologies Program or other field prototype testing.

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Toxics, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, Chemical Engineering, air toxics, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Chemistry, HAPS, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Atmospheric Sciences, Chemistry and Materials Science, Incineration/Combustion, 33/50, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, particulate matter, combustion byproducts, ambient air quality, emission control strategies, air pollutants, Toluene, aerosol particles, catalytic oxidation, emission control technologies, catalytically stablizied incineration, atmospheric particles, gas turbines, Ethyl benzene, hazardous air pollutants, VOCs, air pollution control, pollution control technologies, Trichloroethylene, air pollution, chemical contaminants, emission controls, hazardous waste incinerators, catalytically stablized incineration, atmospheric aerosols, combustion technology, energy efficiency, methyl ethyl ketone, combustion exhaust gases, thermal incineration, combustion, incineration, emissions contol engineering, catalytic combustion, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final