A simple investment enabled the Trelleborg facility in Morristown, in the US, to reduce the amount of energy required to destroy volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
“With the new system, no natural gas is required in the process,” explains David Constans, Director Environmental Health and Safety at Trelleborg Coated Systems US.
During 2009, a number of new production processes were integrated into the Trelleborg facility in Morristown, where blankets for offset printers are produced. Organic solvents, VOCs, are used in the coating process. According to regulations, a minimum of 97 percent of all VOC emissions must be destroyed before reaching the atmosphere.
“In the past, we have routinely reached 99 percent,” says David Constans.
Two types of oxidizers are used at the facility to destroy VOCs: catalytic oxidizers or regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTOs). The first system uses natural gas to initiate the combustion of the harmful solvents and convert them into CO2 and water vapor. RTOs use the energy within VOCs to initiate the combustion. Since no extra energy is added, costs are reduced and less CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere.
At the beginning of 2010, the bulk of VOC emissions were directed into one RTO, instead of using multiple catalytic oxidizers.
“We now save about USD 6,000 each month and have reduced annual CO2 emissions by 400 metric tons. Moreover, by integrating five separate production processes into one RTO, we managed to nearly double our production without the need to invest in new environmental control devices.”
According to David Constans, the changes carried out were simple and mainly managed internally.
“The investments made are about controlling our costs while also contributing to a better environment,” concludes David Constans.
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