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Environmental Engineering Research 2018;23(4): 397-405. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4491/eer.2018.057
Numerical simulation of a regenerative thermal oxidizer for volatile organic compounds treatment
Xiaowen Hao1, Ruixin Li1, Jiao Wang1, and Xinfei Yang2
1School of Automotive Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Weihai, Weihai Shandong 264209, China
2Shandong Academy of Environmental Science, Jinan Shandong 250013, China
Corresponding Author: Xinfei Yang ,Tel: +86-531-8587-0054 , Fax: +86-531-8587-0054, Email: sdhyxf@163.com
Received: January 31, 2018;  Accepted: April 5, 2018.
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As regulations governing the control of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have become increasingly stringent in China, regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTOs) have been more frequently applied in medium- and high-concentration VOCs treatments. However, due to the lack of existing RTO-related research, experience remains a dominant factor for industrial application. This paper thus aimed to establish a model for industrial RTOs, using a transient simulation method and thermal equilibrium model to simulate the internal velocities and temperature distributions of an RTO across multiple cycles. A comparison showed an error of less than 5% between most correlating simulated and experimental measurement points, verifying that the simulation method was accurate. After verification, the velocity and temperature fields inside the RTO were simulated to study the uniformity of temperature and velocity within the packed beds: both fields displayed high uniformity after gas flowed through the honeycomb regenerator. The effects of air volume, VOCs concentrations, and valve switching times on the oxidation chamber temperature, RTO outlet temperature, and thermal efficiency (as well as their averages) were studied. The VOCs removal rate in this study was constantly above 98%, and the average thermal efficiency reached 90%.
Keywords: Numerical simulation | Regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) | Temperature field | Velocity field | Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
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