Retrofit Air Pollution Control Filter for Restaurant Underfired Charbroilers

EPA Contract Number: EPD10061
Title: Retrofit Air Pollution Control Filter for Restaurant Underfired Charbroilers
Investigators: Wright, Steve R.
Small Business: Innova Tech, Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: II
Project Period: May 1, 2010 through April 30, 2012
Project Amount: $224,996
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2010) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Air Pollution


Daily, approximately 321,000 underfired charbroilers in approximately 700,000 U.S. food service operations account for 94 percent of current restaurant emissions, equivalent to 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 adversely impacting health. Grease emissions from one underfired charbroiler are approximately 2.15 MT/yr. This large, installed base requires a retrofit implementation approach with new emissions control technology. Conventional technologies are either too capital intensive to install, too costly to operate and maintain, or have inefficient overall filtration performance.

A new cost-effective, high-efficiency emission control system was developed that integrates a novel self-cleaning inertial filter (already commercialized for metalworking oil mist elimination) with a proprietary water mist evaporative cooler for VOC condensation and a clean-in-place (CIP) continuous grease removal system for long-term unattended operation. Technology attributes and benefits include: compactness, ease of maintenance and service, enhanced worker and customer safety, reduced capital and operational costs, elimination of contaminated media disposal in landfills, and long service life.

The project objective is to demonstrate that a full-scale self-cleaning aerosol grease filtration system with integrated blower, evaporative cooler, and CIP components can cost-effectively reduce both PM and VOC grease emissions by at least 70 percent.

A full-sized pre-commercial prototype will be tested extensively to compare grease PM removal efficiencies with competitive technologies and demonstrate grease VOC removal with H2O mist evaporative cooling. Integrated spray nozzles in the prototype that periodically spray a commercial degreaser will allow intermittent and continuous operation without grease build-up.

Achieving grease emissions reductions of approximately 70 percent nationally would decrease pollution by more than 483,105 MT/yr, significantly reducing smog in major urban areas.

All Phase I project technical objectives were achieved, establishing full-scale PM removal efficiencies of more than 99 percent, significantly better than current technologies (sub-scale VOC removal efficiencies were approximately 42% via evaporative cooling, resulting in more than 70% reduction in total grease emissions).

InnovaTech anticipates that full-scale combined PM and VOC grease removal efficiencies will exceed 70 percent, establishing the highest performance standard in the market. Retrofit/installation and operating costs will be minimized for affordable and sustained technology implementation. Integrated CIP will lower routine service and maintenance costs.

Economies will be gained in long-term sustainable process efficiencies; reduced operation, maintenance, and disposal costs; decreased filter cleaning and replacement downtime; enhanced worker (OSHA and NIOSH) safety; environmental friendliness; and greater compliance with EPA PM2.5 emission requirements.

Although the potential U.S. restaurant grease emission control market is worth more than $2B, the technology also can improve emission compliance of industrial process gas streams including: agriculture (pesticides), power generation, transportation, construction and mining, petrochemicals, and so on.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, EPA, air pollution, VOCs, underfired charbroilers, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, PM, restaurant emissions, grease emissions, food service operations, emissions control technology, grease filtration system, evaporative cooling, commercial degreaser, smog, OSHA, NIOSH, PM2.5,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report

  • SBIR Phase I:

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