One of the most important aspects of your equipment is the quality materials and a good overall design. Additionally, you should
know the basics of how a regenerative thermal oxidizer works. The primary function of the regenerative thermal oxidizer is air
pollution control or to destroy the waste contaminants from the plants process streams.
The regenerative thermal oxidizer is based on the principle of combustion. Combustion is the most common method used to
destroy organic plant emissions. Regenerative thermal oxidizer equipment is capable of having very high destruction efficiency
from 98% to 99+ depending on the equipment design. Regenerative thermal oxidizers typically consist of an industrial burner that
ignites supplemental fuel and the plants process waste, and a combustion chamber that provides the required holding or
residence time for the destruction. Combustion occurs when there is a rapid combination of oxygen with different types of
elements or chemicals resulting in release of heat or British Thermal Units.
Complete combustion of the supplemental fuel is required so that no further pollutants are added to the process. In order to
achieve complete combustion the plant waste stream and the supplemental fuel must be brought into contact with one another.
The following required operating conditions must occur:
1. A temperature which is high enough to ignite the plants waste stream.
2. Turbulent mixing of the air, process waste stream and supplemental fuel mixture.
3. Sufficient retention or chamber residence time for the oxidation reaction to occur.
The oxidation of a combustible is affected greatly by the temperature, thus the higher the temperature the quicker the oxidation
rate. Thermal oxidation of most volatile organic compounds (VOC) occurs between 590°F and 650°F over sustained periods.
Most plant facilities operate waste incinerators between 1400°F to 1450°F. The time for which the waste stream pollutants stay in
the regenerative thermal incinerator is called oxidation residence time. The longer the residence time the lower operating
temperature within the combustion chamber.
The formula for oxidation residence time is:
t = V / Q where,
t = residence time, seconds
V = chamber volume, ft/3
Q = gas volumetric flow rate at combustion ft3/s.
Combustion air or oxygen stream must be taken into consideration of design. For complete thermal combustion to occur, every
molecule of plant process waste and any supplemental fuel that is added must come in contact with the provided oxygen. Should
this not occur the untreated plant process waste stream and any non ignited supplemental fuel will be exhausted from the
The system of mixing the burner flame and plant waste stream to obtain a blended uniform temperature for the destruction of
plant waste gases is the most difficult part in the design of a regenerative thermal oxidizer. A Regenerative thermal oxidizer must
be engineered carefully and with proven retention methods to achieve the maximum blending of gases that avoids areas of
A regenerative thermal oxidizer consists of an industrial burner, combustion chamber, and a fan to either push or draw the plants
process stream through the regenerative thermal oxidizer system. This forces the polluted waste stream, air and fuel are
continuously be delivered to the combustion chamber where the waste stream combusted. The waste stream is delivered
through the heat sink ceramic media to cause ignition or preheat the waste gases on the way to the combustion area. The waste
gases in the plants process air are then reacted in the combustion areas at an elevated temperature. Higher velocity process
streams are very useful in preventing any waste stream particulates from settling down. Some industries choose to recover the
energy or BTU value generated by this reaction by use of a heat exchanger.
The regenerative thermal oxidizer should be constructed of material which can withstand higher temperatures such as 5/16" to
3/8” material to avoid overheating of the skin or outside walls of the thermal unit. Regenerative thermal oxidizer's use
thermocouple's designed to detect overheating. The modules of insulation exposed in the combustion chamber area is
typically 8" thick and a density of 12 lbs. /ft3.
Other major areas of importance is the damper system and the way overall system is designed. One important question to ask is,
In the event of a system down fault is the system capable of sustaining the trapped or captured heat over a long period of
time? Is there a chance that the valves will become damaged or that the expansion joints will burn? Another very important
question is, if the trapped heat escapes during this period will it damage my fan bearing or the isolation boot?
Our system is designed to be shut off at full temperature! Minimal heat will escape with No Damage! That means when you
start up in the morning it's not 200F it's over 1000F reducing the time to set point temperature from 30 minutes to 1 hour at full
burner to 10 to 15 minutes at minimal burner usage. This will save 10's of thousands of dollars over the life of the equipment.
Buying A Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO)
American Environmental Fabrication & Supply LLC +1 (918) 708-1253 Fax: +1 (918) 772-3536
18991 S 410 Road Hulbert, OK 74441-1861 email@example.com
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Air Pollution Control Equipment
American Environmental Fabrication & Supply, LLC
Call +1 (918) 708 - 1253