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Thermal Oxidizer

  General Description General Description
  Monitoring Information Monitoring Information
  Costs Costs
GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Thermal oxidizers, or thermal incinerators, are combustion devices that control VOC, CO, and volatile HAP emissions by combusting them to carbon dioxide (CO2) and water. Thermal oxidizers are similar to catalytic oxidizers (catalytic oxidizers use a catalyst to promote the oxidation reaction). Important design factors include temperature (a temperature high enough to ignite the organic constituents in the waste stream), residence time (sufficient time for the combustion reaction to occur), and turbulence or mixing of the combustion air with the waste gas.

To reduce fuel usage required for oxidation, thermal oxidizers frequently have some form of heat recovery. The percentage of heat recovery in the design of thermal oxidizers generally increases with decreasing inlet VOC/HAP concentration. Heat recovery may either be recuperative or regenerative. In recuperative heat recovery, heat is recovered by passing the hot exhaust gases through a non-contact air-to-air heat exchanger, to heat the incoming air to the oxidizer. In regenerative heat recovery, hot exhaust gases and cool inlet gases are alternatively passed through a fixed bed, typically employing ceramics. See the link below for a schematic of a basic thermal oxidizer.

A training tool developed for inspectors provides an overview of oxidizers (thermal and catalytic); this tool describes oxidizer types, operating principles, pollutants controlled, proper operating conditions, and performance monitoring of oxidizers. A training video provides similar information in an audio-video format (about 15 minutes in length). Other specific information about thermal oxidizers can be found from the EPA Air Pollution Control Cost Manual, Section 3.2, Chapter 2 - Incinerators and from EPA Fact Sheets.


  Training Video

Video RM File

(14240K)  
  Schematic of a Basic Thermal Incinerator

Adobe PDF File

(1 p, 64K)  
  EPA Fact Sheet - Thermal Incinerator

Adobe PDF File

(6 pp, 30K)  
  EPA Fact Sheet - Incinerator - Recuperative Type

Adobe PDF File

(6 pp, 30K)  
  EPA Fact Sheet - Incinerator - Regenerative Type

Adobe PDF File

(5 pp, 25K)  
  EPA Air Pollution Control Cost Manual, Section 3.2, Chapter 2 - Incinerators

Adobe PDF File

(64 pp, 182K)  
  More Information About Catalytic Oxidizers

 
  Training Tool

Executable EXE File

(6091K)  
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MONITORING INFORMATION

General Information
For VOC control, the primary indicators of thermal oxidizer performance are the outlet exhaust gas VOC concentration and the combustion chamber temperature. Other indicators of thermal oxidizer performance include outlet exhaust gas CO concentration, exhaust gas flow rate, fan current, outlet CO2 concentration, outlet O2 concentration, and auxiliary fuel line pressure. For CO control, the indicators of performance are the same as for VOC control, with the exception of outlet VOC and CO2 concentrations, which would not be monitored for a CO emissions limit.

The Compliance Assurance Monitoring (CAM) Technical Guidance Document (TGD) provides a source of information on monitoring approaches for different types of control devices.

Specific information provided in the CAM TGD related to thermal oxidation include example CAM submittals based on case studies of actual facilities (see link to Appendix A below). Click on the link below for Appendix A: Example CAM Submittals for Thermal Oxidizers.

  Schematic of a Basic Thermal Incinerator-Primary Indicators of Performance

Adobe PDF File

(1 p, 56K)  
  CAM TGD - Appendix A: Example CAM Submittals for Thermal Oxidizers

Adobe PDF File

(23 pp, 257K)  
  CAM Rule

 
Industry Specific Information
To search for additional monitoring information specific to an industry, click on the monitoring information by industry type section link provided below.

  Monitoring Information By Industry Type

 
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COSTS

Costs of thermal oxidation are discussed in the EPA Air Pollution Control Cost Manual, Section 3.2, Chapter 2 - Incinerators. Costs of monitoring systems, both Continuous Emission Monitors and parametric monitoring systems, are addressed in the EPA Air Pollution Control Cost Manual, Section 2, Chapter 4 - Monitors.

Costs for thermal oxidation of styrene emitted from fiber-reinforced plastics facilities is discussed in a report titled, Assessment of Styrene Emission Controls for FRP/C and Boat Building Industries (EPA-600/R-96-109). The report includes spreadsheets designed to quickly analyze the control cost for a thermal oxidation (and other VOC/HAP control technologies) based on control device input flow rate and pollutant loading (in tons per year or ppm). An introductory text file lists the controls that are analyzed and gives basic instructions for using the spreadsheets. The spreadsheets were developed for styrene (C8H8, 4.326 mg/m3 per ppm, 0.00475 Btu/ppm) and would need to be altered to address other pollutants.

  EPA Air Pollution Control Cost Manual, Section 3.2, Chapter 2 - Incinerators

Adobe PDF File

(64 pp, 182K)  
  EPA Control Cost Spreadsheets for Calculating Regenerative Thermal Incinerator Capital and Annual Costs (Second Edition)

Compressed ZIP File

(7K)  
  EPA Control Cost Spreadsheets for Calculating Recuperative Thermal Incinerator Capital and Annual Costs (Second Edition)

Compressed ZIP File

(7K)  
  EPA Background Document for Control Cost Spreadsheets

Adobe PDF File

(16 pp, 54K)  
  EPA Air Pollution Control Cost Manual, Section 2, Chapter 4 - Monitors

Adobe PDF File

(42 pp, 542K)  
  Spreadsheets to Analyze Control Costs for a Thermal Oxidizer; Assessment of Styrene Emission Controls for FRP/C and Boat Building Industries (EPA-600/R-96-109)

Compressed ZIP File

(31K)  
  Introductory Text; Assessment of Styrene Emission Controls for FRP/C and Boat Building Industries (EPA-600/R-96-109)

Text TXT File

(2K)  
  Assessment of Styrene Emission Controls for FRP/C and Boat Building Industries (EPA-600/R-96-109)

Compressed ZIP File

(227K)  
  Addendum to Assessment of Styrene Emission Controls for FRP/C and Boat Building Industries (EPA-600/R-96-136)

Compressed ZIP File

(100K)  

 

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