The method of reduction of Volatile Organic Compounds revolves around thermal oxidation. The chemical process of thermal oxidation is quite simple; the exhaust stream temperature is raised to a point that the chemical bonds that hold the volatile organic molecules together are broken. The VOCs in the process exhaust stream are converted to carbon dioxide, H2O, and thermal energy by the high temperature of the combustion chamber. To assist in raising the exhaust stream temperature to the desired set point, a recuperative heat exchanger is incorporated into the system to recover heat from the exiting clean waste gas and apply it to the incoming cold dirty process stream.
As the two air flows pass in a “cross flow” arrangement, the low temperature incoming air stream absorbs the heat energy of the outgoing high temperature air stream. This process is called “recuperation”. The design of the heat exchanger allows this transfer to be done without any cross contamination between the dirty to clean air stream. Any cross contamination from the incoming dirty air stream to the outgoing clean air stream would lead to decreased destruction efficiencies by the system.