Smokestack Scrubbers: a New Component to Industrial Exhaust Systems

Power plants burn coal, so the smoke and fumes constitute a serious threat to the health of the people who live downwind. The federal government is now trying to decide this problem. It seems that the simplest solution is an adoption of a tighter emission standard. But in fact, it should be noted, the smokestack may turn out to be one place where slightly less restrictive standards actually result in cleaner air. Coal-burning plants emit sulfur dioxide and particles of ash: it is statistically proved that death rates in cities throughout the country are correlated with the presence of those pollutants in the atmosphere. There is no threshold of that pollution below which people are safe. Thereby, the issue is to ensure the most reliable air pollution control.

Nowadays the federal law has set a limit on the amount of sulfur that a power plant could emit: this amount correlates with the amount of energy generated. But it has now become apparent that new technology of dust control permitted significantly lower ceilings. This technology implies the use of stack scrubbers. The technology of scrubbers, which can remove a very large proportion of the sulfur dioxide from smokestack emissions, is constantly being refined. Some scrubbers can be installed directly inside a smokestack, but other scrubber installations require the addition of an entire building or complex to a coal plant.

The main method of removing sulfur dioxide from emissions is to put the “flue gas” from industrial plants through a tank containing a sprayed mixture of powdered limestone and water. The resulting chemical reaction produces a synthetic form of the mineral gypsum. Such mineral gypsum can be adapted for use in concrete or drywall. The process of removing emissions can be done in two basic methods:

  • In a wet scrubbers, the untreated exhaust is sent through a spray chamber where fine water droplets knock down the harmful particulates. The water enters a miniature water treatment plant where the sediments are removed before the water is recycled to be used again.
  • Dry scrubbers create a dry waste product by using a granulated solid material or electrostatic technology to intercept the particulates. Such scrubbers are not as common as wet scrubbers because of their higher costs of installation.

However, it should be noted, scrubbers are expensive. In addition to this, coal from the eastern fields generally has a high sulfur content whilst western coal is cleaner. So the senators and representatives of the eastern coal states insisted on a formula that would require new plants to install scrubbers, regardless of fuel quality. The result is a law that requires plants to scrub a percentage of the pollutants out of the stack gas. However, the environmentalists feared that some plants might promise to use low-sulfur coal but, since it is expensive, cheat and violate the standards. So since there is no device that can monitor sulfur emissions automatically, how can the companies guarantee compliance? But this is just a rhetorical question.

Although the EPA focuses most of its regulations and emission requirements on power plants and the energy industry, any plant that has a high-emission fuel source, such as natural gas, coal, or trash, will need to have some version of a scrubber or scrubber system installed. While there are many air pollution control components on the market, smokestack scrubbers are very multidisciplinary. These units have the ability to remove gases, mists, and solids simultaneously. Wet air scrubbers are also capable of handling flammable and explosive gases safely.

Scrubbers must be properly maintained and cleaned. A smokestack scrubber that is not properly maintained will be inefficient and can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

Being a new type of wet air scrubber, multi-vortex wet air scrubber provides improved air treatment quality and can be used for both particles matter and gas collection. The treatment quality of multi-vortex wet air scrubber is generally 99.95-99.99% for both types of pollutants. Besides high efficiency, multi-vortex wet air scrubber possesses a number of advantages over conventional wet scrubbers – multi-vortex wet air scrubber is compact, omnivorous, eco-friendly, economical, and low-maintenance.

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