Air Pollution Control Innovations

Thermal Oxidizer HCl Scrubbers for Vinyl Chloride Facilities

Posted by Andy Bartocci on Mon, Apr 12, 2021 @ 08:30 AM

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Illumina HCl ScrubberHCl emissions are encountered in a wide range of applications including hazardous waste combustors (HWC), medical waste incinerators, pharmaceutical production, and ceramic tile manufacturing. There is a wide range of performance requirements depending on the application and applicable state or US EPA standard. Below is a summary of performance requirements for some of these applications.

  • Hospital, medical, and infectious waste incinerator (HMIWI) MACT standard: 5.1 to 15 ppmv depending on the size of the incinerator and whether it is an existing or new incinerator.
  • Hazardous waste combustor (HWC) MACT standard: 32 ppmv for existing incinerators and 21 ppmv for new incinerators; adjusted to 7% O2.
  • Ceramic tile kiln scrubber: > 97% removal
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing RTO scrubber: > 99% removal
A specific HCl application is the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Polyvinyl Chloride and Copolymers (PVC) Production. The US EPA has granted petitions for reconsideration of the emission limits in the 2012 final rules for process vents, process wastewater, and stripped resin for major and area sources. A typical exhaust source from these facilities is treated by a thermal oxidizer followed by a quencher and a packed bed scrubber.  HCl loads are high and can range from 10,000 ppmv to peak loads of 25,000 ppmv. The proposed new NESHAP rule reduces HCl limits from 78 ppmv to 0.64 ppmv for existing sources. New sources must meet an emission limit of 0.17 ppmv. These are challenging limits and require greater than 99.998% removal efficiency.

Dal_Tile_installIt is well known that gaseous HCl readily absorbs into water and can be removed with high efficiency with caustic addition. The challenge however is that a fraction of the inlet HCl condenses into acid aerosol when hot gas from the thermal oxidizer contacts water in the quencher. The aerosol quantity formed and the particle size distribution (PSD) of the acid droplets vary from process to process. Predictive models to accurately estimate these values are limited and imprecise. In some cases as much as 20% of the HCl can form an acid aerosol fog. Aerosol carry-over exhausting from the scrubber will show up in stack tests and contribute to plant emissions.

It is common for HCl scrubbers to utilize mesh pads above the packed bed to remove aerosol droplets before exiting the scrubber. As noted above, many applications require 97% to 99% removal efficiency. This arrangement is generally adequate for these removal efficiencies. The proposed NESHAP standards for vinyl chloride facilities, however, requires higher efficiency. This increased efficiency demand requires additional consideration in the scrubber design and mist eliminator to guarantee performance. Facilities should rely on experienced scrubber suppliers that understand HCl aerosol and account for it in the scrubber design to guarantee emission limits.

Click on the link below to download HCl scrubber literature.

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Topics: Scrubbers, Incinerator Scrubber, quenchers, Packed Bed Absorbers, Packed Bed Scrubbers, Wet Scrubbers, HCl Scrubbers