When it comes to environmental issues, there are specific aspects related to the Automotive sector that we have to consider.
During automotive production, there are different processes that generate gas emissions, liquid discharges and solid and semi-solid waste, depending on the manufacturing stage. All of them need to be taken into account in order to provide the best possible environmental treatment.
What are VOC concentrators?
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) concentrators, also known as Zeolite rotor concentrators, are wheel-shaped devices that treat and concentrate gases as they spin, and are widely used at the automotive sector. VOC concentrators also incorporate an adsorbent bed of Zeolite.
As the gases to be adsorbed pass through the wheel, they are adsorbed into the bed, thereby cleaning the process gas. When the flow of air to be treated is high and the concentration of solvents is low, the Regenerative Thermal Oxidation (RTO) process is complemented by the use of a Zeolite rotor concentrator system. By adsorbing the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), the zeolite rotor concentrator is able to reduce the flow of the air to be treated and increases the level of concentration, which in turn enables the RTO to achieve autothermal operation.
How does a VOC concentrator work?
The Zeolite rotor concentrator operates continuously, cleaning most of the air that passes through it by means of a Zeolite wheel to which the VOCs adhere. A small proportion of the air is passed through the Zeolite wheel again in a counter-current, in order to perform desorption and leave the wheel clean. This small amount of concentrated air, which has a high load of VOCs, must then be sent to an oxidation system (e.g. an RTO) where the solvents can be eliminated.
The advantages of a VOC concentration system
The main advantage is the ability to reduce the initial airflow by a factor of 10-20, thereby increasing the concentration of the gas to be treated by the same amount. This makes it possible to install a smaller RTO and achieve autothermal operation, thereby lowering the operating costs and reducing gas and electricity consumption. In turn, this results in lower overall costs than other technologies.
A success story in the automotive sector
One of the most important challenges of this specific project consisted in having large exhaust gas flow with low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) concentration.
The key problem presented by large flows with low concentration is that it is necessary to burn a large amount of fuel in order to maintain a high temperature in the combustion chambers, as the process gas does not contain enough energy to make the process autothermal. To prevent these high levels of consumption, at Tecam we install VOC concentrators, also known as Zeolite rotorconcentrators. These devices treat the process gas by adsorbing a large amount of the gas and concentrating the pollutants. Once this concentration has been achieved, the pollutants are treated in an oxidiser, thereby minimising fuel consumption.
The sectors most commonly affected by large flows with low VOC concentration are those that use paint booths (such as the automotive industry), the printing industry (both flexographic and intaglio) and the pharmaceutical industry.
Once the customer’s technical requirements were analyzed in depth, Tecam proposed a custom-made solution consisting of a 120,000 Nm3/h Zeolite Rotorconcentrator and a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) equipment to eliminate the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) generated during the customer’s production processes.
After installation of the Tecam RTO plus Zeolite rotor concentrator, this automotive production plant was able to reduce up to 99.9% its VOC emissions, as well as the unpleasant odours in their green area, with the result of happier neighbours, environmental agents and local authorities.
Contact us today if you have any issues with the exhaust gases at your production plant. We’ll be glad to help you.