During production processes, several sectors are affected by high peaks of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) concentrations, especially industries working in discontinuous or batch processes. Having discontinuous production, some production plants can emit variable polluted flows at different moments of the day. The pharmaceutical sector and fine chemicals industries are common examples of sectors with high peaks of VOC concentration in their emissions.


The Chemical sector – a sector with high environmental risk

The chemical sector is a sector with high environmental risk. The mixture of delicate raw materials, distillations and physicochemical reactions are constant in this sector. It is common to find combustion installations such as steam production boilers used in distillation operations, and in many cases explosive mixtures can even be generated. These conditions require having experts for the treatment of both emissions and waste.

In the chemical sector we find a wide range of pollutants, usually organic or inorganic compounds, fluorinated and halogenated.

There are several peculiarities of the production processes in the chemical sector. Very varied processes are developed in the chemical sector, in line with the great diversity of manufactured products: production of resins, composite materials, fertilizers, derivative products, lubricants, chemical products and substances, etc.

Taking into account all those polluting emissions that must be eliminated, regardless of whether their origin is a fixed source or a stationary source and the explosive risk that many of them have at source or in their subsequent mixing and handling, you need cutting-edge environmental equipment as the best option to guarantee your plant’s safety and your peace of mind, with or without ATEX needs.


The Pharma sector and its environmental peculiarities

One of the problems faced by the pharmaceutical sector is that several different chemical processes tend to coexist in obtaining a single product, while different products are made in the same plant. That is why it is necessary to customize the emissions treatment equipment by analyzing in detail and in a personalized way all the possibilities of chemical processes that are carried out in each production plant or laboratory.

Some peculiarities of the pharma sector are the fact that to obtain all the necessary formulations, the pharmaceutical sector carries out complex processes under difficult conditions that must be identified and controlled: LEL dilution, removal of particles, as well as alleviation of possible explosions due to mixtures of substances that are used in many processes for obtaining active principles.

Regarding pollutants in the pharmaceutical sector, it is in the production of active ingredients where the pharmaceutical industry encounters its greatest emissions problems. During the storage and transport of solvents, by purging nitrogen reactors, in distillation and evaporation operations, in product drying and cleaning of equipment – this is where we find the highest emissions of VOCs to the atmosphere.

Moreover, the pharmaceutical industry has to deal with many other pollutants, such as: acetone, halogenated compounds, ammonia, hydrochloric acid, hydrobromic acid, methanol, methylene chloride, triton-B, benzyl chloride, dichloromethane, toluene, ethanol, thionyl chloride, isopropanol, benzylamine, tetrahydrofuran, bromates and bromides, etc.


The problem…

The high pollutant concentration in emissions peaks causes high and sudden rises in temperature in the Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) combustion chamber.

The problem when we have a concentration peak in an oxidizer is that the temperature in the RTO combustion chamber will rise quickly because there will suddenly be more amount of oxidizable compounds.


…and the technical solution

To avoid that, there are several effective solutions depending on the specific situation, the circumstance surrounding the plant and the result we need to achieve.

To avoid those temperature rises, a control is used in the RTO that adds atmospheric air. Thus, the process air is diluted, the concentration is lowered, and the temperature in the combustion chamber is therefore lowered.

If the dilution is still not sufficient, one of the most effective solutions is to perform a hot bypass in the RTO combustion chamber. The hot bypass consists of generating an output stream directly from the combustion chamber. A control valve is installed to this stream, which will be regulated with the chamber temperature probes. At the moment when the equipment receives a high concentration of compounds and the temperature rises excessively and the dilution is not enough to lower the temperature, the hot bypass control valve will open to release the excess energy.


To sum-up, Regenerative Thernal Oxidizer (RTO) is the most suitable technology for the chemical and pharma sectors to manage their challenges of high pollutant concentration peaks in its emissions during production processes, for safer operations and a clean environment, and which is in compliance with the most restrictive environmental legislation nowadays.


If you have any questions on this, or need technical advice with your emissions treatment, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@tecamgroup.com or +34934281154.

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