VOC abatement plant ensure compliance at chemical works

ACWa AIR, the pollution control division of ACWa Services, has installed and commissioned a Regenerative Thermal Oxidiser (RTO) at the BASF chemical works in Cramlington. The unit will ensure full compliance with stringent Environment Agency regulations by removing more than 99% of benzene contained in exhaust gases discharged from the processing of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

The skid-mounted Reeco Stroem Re-Therm® RL Regenerative Thermal oxidiser will also recover 95% of thermal energy- a feature designed to minimise operating costs by reducing the amount of natural gas required to fire the combustion unit. Because of the potential for an explosive mixture to exist in the exhaust gases, ACWa, Reeco and BASF engineers collaborated closely during the process design stage to ensure that the RTO interfaced successfully with BASF's existing safety system.

In operation, the compact, highly efficient unit uses multiple regenerative chambers containing structured ceramic blocks which absorb heat from the cleaned exhaust stream and transfer it to the incoming process gases. When the gases have passed through the heat recovery chambers and exited the burner zone, they are completely purified by rapid oxidation to form non-hazardous compounds such as carbon dioxide and water vapour.

With few moving parts - a feature which increases reliability and reduces the cost of maintenance - the oxidiser is capable of treating process exhaust gases in volumes ranging from 4,000 to 16,000 Nm3/hour. The Re-Therm® RTO is fully automated and interlocked with the Cramlington site's main control system to ensure that it can be operated safely, both locally and remotely from the process building.

In addition to the RTO process, ACWa AIR installed more than 200 metres of ductwork, automatic dampers and a ductwork purge system. Reeco Re-Therm® thermal oxidisers are well-proven and over the last thirty years have been installed on more than 400 processes - seventy of these in Europe.



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