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Thermal Oxidizers

Thermal Oxidizers

What are thermal oxidizers?

Thermal oxidizers reduce air pollution emissions from a variety of industrial processes.

Using the principle of “thermal oxidation,” a combustion process, the contaminants within the polluted exhaust gas react with oxygen in a temperature controlled environment. The chemical oxidation reaction destroys the contaminants in the polluted exhaust gas before discharging it back into the atmosphere. What is released is an innocuous emission of CO2, water vapor, and heat.

PCC Thermal Oxidizers

PCC thermal oxidizers operate on the principle mentioned above, which is thermally promoting an oxidation reaction between the pollutant compound in the exhaust gas and the available oxygen. We supply two types of the Thermal Oxidizers: direct fired (afterburner) and recuperative thermal oxidizers.

1. Direct Fired Thermal Oxidizer – The simplest type of thermal oxidizer, it does not include any type of heat recovery system to recover a portion of the waste heat generated by the combustion process. A direct fired thermal oxidizer system typically includes:

  • Burner
  • Combustion chamber
  • Blower
  • Air/fuel train
  • Instrumentation and controls
  • Exhaust stack

Typically less expensive than other types of thermal oxidizers, direct fired thermal oxidizers will incur higher operating cost (fuel use) for waste streams that are endothermic (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 – Direct Fired Thermal Oxidizer (Afterburner)

Figure 1 - Direct Fired Thermal Oxidizer (Afterburner)


2. Recuperative Thermal Oxidizer (Afterburner) – Basically, this system is a direct fired thermal oxidizer with heat recovery added at the discharge end of the combustion chamber. Recuperative thermal oxidizers incorporate downstream heat recovery equipment, such as gas- to-gas heat exchangers, waste heat recovery boilers, gas to liquid heat exchangers, etc… to maximize the thermal oxidizer system overall efficiency.

Downstream heat recovery equipment uses the available heat produced within the thermal oxidizer combustion chamber to reduce auxiliary fuel consumption, produce steam, heat a process air stream, or heat a liquid stream. A recuperative thermal oxidizer system can have a single heat recovery device (Figure 2), or multiple heat recovery devices (Figure 3).

Figure 2 – Single Heat Recovery

Figure 2 - Single Heat Recovery


Figure 3 – Multiple Heat Recovery

Figure 3 - Multiple Heat Recovery


In addition to the recuperative thermal oxidizer systems shown above, a recuperative thermal oxidizer can incorporate:

  • Combustion air preheat to conserve fuel
  • Other heat recover equipment such as a hot oil heater, hot water economizer, or asphalt heater

Recuperative thermal oxidizers can treat multiple gaseous and liquid waste streams that are endothermic and/or exothermic.

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