Removing VOCs at upscaled plastics firm

Growing your business often goes with growing pains, including higher VOC emissions. This challenge can be tackled to remain compliant with the most recent envionmental regulations. By choosing the right partners and technology, you can upscale your company, stay on the right side of the authorities, and reach your green goals.

The Problem

A German company produces plastic components for the pharmaceutical industry. A rise in demand meant the company needed to quickly upscale – almost doubling production.

However, this expansion increased its VOC emissions, tipping it over the limit for ethanol and isopropanol. So the search was on for technology that could treat its air flows.

An external consultancy pinpointed two possible solutions. The first was regenerative thermal oxidation (RTO): however, this is more cost-effective for higher VOC concentrations and continuous production.

So, the company opted for activated carbon filtration, which scored higher both technically and commercially. With no German supplier offering such a system, DESOTEC stepped in.

Chemical plant on night time
Alpine meadow in bavaria german

The Solution

A detailed analysis found that air emissions came from three points, with the total flow rate estimated to be between 15 000 and 45 000 m³/ h. It ended up at around 20 000 m³/ h.

We proposed combining these three flows into one, and passing it over two AIRCON V-XL filters installed in series. The first filter removes the bulk of the VOC emissions, while the second is mainly for polishing the flow.

As soon as the first filter is saturated, the polishing filter takes its place and a new mobile filter is installed to take over the polishing work.

The Results

This smart filtration set-up has been in use for more than two years, and continues to work effectively.

Initially, a filter exchange was required once a month, but the customer managed to optimise production processes and reduce VOC emissions. Now, a filter exchange is required only two to three times a year. It’s simple and quick, requiring no production downtime.

The company’s emissions remain easily within the 50 mg C/m³ limit. The firm is very satisfied with the solution, and has recently renewed its contract with DESOTEC for a further two years.

All filtration waste is handled safely and sustainably by DESOTEC as part of a full-service solution. We remove the spent carbon in closed filter units away from the customer’s site and take it to our own facilities for analysis.

All molecules that were adsorbed on the activated carbon at the customers’ site, are desorbed inside DESOTEC’s reactivation furnaces. These contaminants are then fully destroyed in accordance with national and European legislation. Wherever possible, the carbon is reactivated, reducing costs and boosting sustainability for the client.

Our entire furnace and its emissions are under continuous online monitoring, guaranteeing that only harmless water vapour is seen exiting the chimney.