Companies in every sector of industry are continually searching for areas in their process to save energy, thus reducing costs and maximizing profits. The low hanging fruit for energy optimization and savings can be found in the systems and machinery requiring the most utilities to operate. Air pollution control equipment and, for the purpose of this article, regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTOs) are some of the biggest consumers of utilities. Reusing exhaust heat from these units provides facilities an opportunity to recover lost dollars and reduce their carbon footprint.
A regenerative thermal oxidizer consists of a purification chamber located above a single or multiple energy-recovery chambers. These energy-recovery chambers are filled with ceramic heat-exchange media. The hydrocarbon-laden air enters the inlet heater and is directed to one of the energy-recovery chambers through a directional valve. The air passes through the heat-exchange media, absorbing heat from the hot inlet ceramic bed. It then enters the purification chamber at a temperature very close to the oxidation temperature — typically 1400 to 1550°F (760 to 843°C).