Catalytic Oxidizers and Industrial Ovens Not All Alike

Catalytic oxidizers for air pollution control and industrial ovens vary in quality.

A common misconception is that you’ve seen one catalytic oxidizer, you’ve seen them all. Or that the same axiom can be applied to industrial ovens. The truth is, the quality of these systems vary greatly.

Certain basics do apply for catalytic oxidizers. Catalytic treatment of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other air pollutants functions by reacting upon the harmful air pollutants over a customized precious metal catalyst in which VOCs are altered to carbon dioxide, water vapor, and usable heat. Through this catalytic process, relatively harmless byproducts are released into the atmosphere or else morph into recovered energy in attempt to lower the costs of operation. Use of catalytic oxidizers can result in lower operational costs than thermal oxidation processes. In most cases, a control system automatically unlocks the process, energizes the blowers, and purges the system with fresh air prior to igniting the burner and bringing the system up to its optimum operating temperature. Once heated, the air stream laden with VOCs enters the oxidizer’s mixing chamber. It’s best that a thorough mixing occurs to ensure temperature uniformity.

Beyond the basics, a truly efficient catalytic oxidizer maximizes the chemical reaction of the oxidation through a precise chemical reaction between the VOC hydrocarbon molecules and a precious metal catalyst bed that is internal to the oxidizer system.

Likewise, a truly efficient industrial oven can be distinguished on its merits. Most industrial ovens are made of steel, with an inner and outer shell comprised of sheet steel panels, separated by a layer of wool insulation that is several inches thick. The oven is typically heated by gas-fired burners located in a combustion chamber. But a truly superior one must be designed in such a way that the oven shall achieve operating temperature quickly enough to achieve the best results. The combustion chamber’s design should correlate optimally with gas fired heating.

A superior industrial oven should also include the following: a recirculation system that includes fans, a preheat oven with exhaust fans, supply and return plenums, and a state-of-the-art panel to house the appropriate electrical controls.

Derek Lang is with Epcon Industrial, a manufacturer of air pollution control systems, thermal oxidizers, and industrial gas fired ovens. To learn more about thermal oxidizers, catalytic oxidizers, air pollution control systems, industrial ovens at

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