Gulf Coast Environmental Systems designs, builds and installs various types of thermal oxidizers including the RTO Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer. Matching the right technology with our customers process needs is paramount to any successful abatement project.
Why Consider an RTO?
RTO technology delivers low operating costs for high air flow, low volatile organic compound (VOC) fume streams. Rather than allowing the clean hot air to exhaust to atmosphere, the RTO unit captures up to 95% of the heat prior to exhausting it to atmosphere.
How Does the RTO Process Work?
Step 1: The RTO unit is brought up to combustion temperature using supplemental fuel such as natural gas, propane, diesel or bio-fuel. During this start up period, the RTO unit initially purges itself with fresh air and continues to process fresh air until it reaches combustion temperature equilibrium. The RTO unit is now ready to switch over to process air and begin the thermal oxidation of VOC with destruction efficiency up to 99%.
Step 2: The RTO switches from start-up mode running on clean air to operating on VOC process air from the source. To maximize heat recovery, the RTO will automatically cycle or alternate the inlet and outlet (see diagrams below) via a series of pneumatic valves.
Because the RTO is so efficient at reclaiming effluent heat, the units often times are capable of sustaining combustion temperatures without any supplemental fuel, utilizing the VOC as the only source of fuel.
Flow Diagrams of a 2-Canister RTO:
Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) ConfigurationsThere are three different types of RTO system configuration: single-canister, two-canister and three-canister designs. Canister or can refers to the number of physical chambers which hold the ceramic heat recovery media. Each design has individual advantages and drawbacks. Single-canister RTOs occupy a small footprint and have the lowest initial procurement (CAPEX) cost, but have higher maintenance (OPEX) costs. Two-canister RTOs have a low CAPEX and more efficient maintenance, while generating a DRE up to 98-99%. Three-canister RTOs are better suited to bake-out processes, have a high DRE of 99% or higher, but have a larger physical footprint.Three-can RTO systems are the best solution for vapor-tolerant and aqueous applications. The high DRE in excess of 99% insures the odor and organic material is nearly completely destroyed. In rendering applications, in order to remove the odor and constituents from the cooker air stream to a level of undetectable emissions, a DRE over 99% is required. A single-canister RTO comes close to achieving 99% DRE, but can’t remove all odors. Two-canister RTOs experience a brief “puff” of untreated process stream from the RTO during cycling of the chambers, which allows a minimal yet detectable release of odor. The third chamber in a 3-canister RTO allows for one chamber being purged with clean air during cycling, eliminating the “puff”, pushing the DRE over 99%. The additional cost of this third chamber is negligible, making the 2-chamber RTO an improbable option.
Multi-Layer Media: Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) Heat Recovery Media
GCES has performed dozens of products tests over the years comparing everything from media to wire to ensure our pollution control equipment operates with consistency, efficiency and accuracy. When selecting media we have chosen the most efficient heat-recovery media for regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTO). Available in three configurations, 160 square feet, 180 square feet or 200 square feet of heat transfer surface per cubic foot, our engineers are unlimited in the options for RTO customization for any given customer specification.
The parallel-plate structure of our media packs more ceramic material into each cubic foot, up to 80% more than saddles with less resistance to air flow. Our results are a unique combination of:
Replacing/Retrofitting RTO Media:
When 1 inch saddles are replaced with our multi layer media for 200 square foot of heat transfer surface, bed depths can be reduced by more than 50%. Benefits of a retrofit include:
- Reduced Operating Costs: Replacing media can raise thermal efficiency and reduce RTO fuel consumption providing a potentially rapid payback.
- Boost Capacity: Replacing media allows RTOs to operate at gas velocities of 400 scfm/square foot or higher. In many cases a client can replace media and upgrade their fan to improve RTO capacities instead of buying an entire second RTO unit.
- Improve VOC Destruction Efficiency: when shorter bed depths provide an effectively enlarged combustion chamber back pressure decreases result in less leakage through switch valves.
- Reduce Maintenance Costs: Particulates are able to more easily pass through canisters and be burned up resulting in less frequent shut downs for media cleaning and replacement.
Whether replacing media to improve the performance of an existing unit or selecting an original equipment manufacturing partner for your new regenerative thermal oxidizer it is important to consider every aspect of the units components. Substandard media could result in a very large long term cost difference when factoring elements such as fuel consumption and maintenance costs.
A Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer New Application: The Aqueous RTO
A RTO can be also applied to destroy wastewater onsite, to learn about the Aqueous Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer, Click Here.