The average person has never heard of thermal oxidizers. But whether you have heard of them or not, these machines are essential to the way we live and to our safety.
A thermal oxidizer is a combustion device used to control air pollution by destroying VOCs (volatile organic compounds). The hazardous gasses are heated at extreme temperatures until the pollutants breakdown into a harmless gas. Thermal Oxidizers are also known as industrial afterburners.
The main reason for thermal oxidizers is to eliminate harmful VOC’s. Volatile Organic Compounds are the byproduct of the heating process where these harmful chemicals are released into the air. The majority of these harmful compounds are hydro-carbon based. Some VOC’s occur in nature and some are manmade. Scents and odors are VOC’s, like those of flowers, for example, which are harmless. The problem is that the majority manmade VOC’s are extremely harmful, both to the environment and to the lungs if inhaled. The effects of inhaling VOC’s compound and cause damage in your body and in the atmosphere over time.
The paint and protective coating industries are some of the largest producers of VOC’s. Over 12 billion liters of paint are manufactured every year. Benzene, created from tobacco smoke as well as auto exhaust is a large VOC creator. Methylene chloride is one of the most harmful VOC’s found in aerosol sprays which are known to cause cancer. Other VOC creating industries include chlorofluorocarbons which are used to make cleaning materials.
Thermal oxidizers work by connecting to the manufacturing machines at the processing plants. As the VOC’s are created during the heating process, the gases are funneled through ducts into the thermal oxidizer. The oxidizer then heats the gases to extremely high temperatures until the dangerous contaminants are reduced to CO2and H2O.and nontoxic air is left. The harmless gases are then released into the air.
Each country and state have their own codes and regulations for the amount of VOC’s that are allowed to be dispersed into the air, water, and land. For the specific regulations in your area, visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s website for more information.
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