Retrofit Air Pollution Control Filter for Restaurant Underfired Charbroilers

EPA Contract Number: EPD09026
Title: Retrofit Air Pollution Control Filter for Restaurant Underfired Charbroilers
Investigators: Wright, Steve R.
Small Business: Innova Tech, Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: February 1, 2009 through July 31, 2009
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Air Pollution , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Each day about 700,000 U.S. food service operations/restaurants emit more than 285 tons of particulate matter (PM) and more than 41 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a significant source of environmental air pollution that can adversely impact health. An estimated 321,000 U.S. underfired charbroilers are responsible for 94% of current restaurant emissions, with approximate costs for conventional emission control technologies > $15/ton of PM/VOC reduced. The large underfired charbroiler installed base requires a retrofit implementation approach to new emission control technology for fine particle (PM2.5) air quality compliance. Current conventional technologies are either too capital intensive to install, too costly to operate/maintain, or have inefficient overall filtration performance, allowing significantly more than the current emissions standards.

Innova Tech proposed to develop a new cost-effective emissions control system, two-thirds less energy intensive than conventional alternatives, that integrates a novel self-cleaning inertial disk filter (commercialized as a metalworking oil mist eliminator) with a proprietary water mist evaporative cooler for VOC condensation and a continuous grease removal system for long-term unattended operation. The rotary disk filter has previously demonstrated mass removal efficiencies > 99% for aerosol particles > 1m at high particle concentrations. The results of the proposed project would provide technological proof-of-concept to restaurateurs and environmental professionals for subsequent device commercialization. Because aerosol grease emissions from one underfired charboiler are estimated to be 2.5 MT/year, national technology implementation of a device achieving nominally 705 reduction in grease emissions has potential pollution reduction capabilities of 483,105 MT/year, which would significantly reduce smog in major urban areas. Anticipated benefits are: compactness, ease of maintenance/service, enhanced removal efficiencies, increased environmental compliance, enhanced worker/customer safety, reduced operational costs, elimination of contaminated media disposal in landfills, and longer service life.

Project technical objectives are to: (1) fabricate a 500CFM prototype, (2) demonstrate prefilter grease vapor condensation, (3) show PM collection/clean-in-place with no significant buildup of grease over time, (4) determine nominal prototype operating parameters, (5) achieve greater than or equal to 70% reduction in PM grease emissions, and (6) compare/contrast prototype filtration performance/economics with conventional technologies. Potential U.S. commercial device sales for underfired charbroiler restaurant grease emission control is > $2B. The technology also can be adapted to improve emission compliance of industrial process gas streams: agriculture (pesticides), power generation, transportation, construction/mining, petrochemicals, etc. Economies will be gained in long-term sustainable process efficiencies, reduced operation/maintenance/disposal costs, decreased filter cleaning/replacement down time, enhanced worker (OSHA/NIOSH) safety, environmental friendliness, and greater compliance with EPA PM2.5 emission requirements.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, EPA, particulate matter, PM, volatile organic compounds, VOCs, air pollution, underfired charbroiler, restaurant emissions, emissions control, PM2.5, air quality, cost-effective, filter, water mist, evaporative cooler, grease removal, aerosol particles, aerosol grease emissions, proof-of-concept, smog, environmental compliance, contaminated media disposal, compact, industrial process gas streams, pesticides, power generation, transportation, construction, mining, petrochemicals, worker safety, reduced costs,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Retrofit Air Pollution Control Filter for Restaurant Underfired Charbroilers  | Final Report