Design and Performance of a VOC Abatement System Using a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell
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There has always been a desire to develop industrial processes that minimize the resources they use, and the wastes they generate. The problem is when new guidelines are forced upon long established processes, such as solvent based coating operations. This means instead of integrating an emission reduction technology into the original design of the process, it is added on after the fact. This significantly increases the costs associated with treating emissions. In this work the ultimate goal is the design of an “add-on” abatement system to treat emissions from solvent based coating processes with high destruction efficiency, and lower costs than systems in current use. Since emissions from processes that utilize solvent based coatings are primarily comprised of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the treatment of these compounds will be the focus. VOCs themselves contain a significant amount of energy. If these compounds could be destroyed by simultaneously extracting the energy they release, operational costs could be substantially reduced. This thesis examines the use of model-based design to develop and optimize a VOC abatement technology that uses a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) for energy recovery. The model was built using existing HYSYS unit operation models, and was able to provide a detailed thermodynamic and parametric analysis of this technology. The model was validated by comparison to published literature results and through the use of several Design of Experiment factorial analyses. The model itself illustrated that this type of system could achieve 95% destruction efficiency with performance that was superior to that of Thermal Oxidation, Biological Oxidation, or Adsorption VOC abatement technologies. This was based upon design criteria that included ten year lifecycle costs and operational flexibility, as well as the constraint of meeting (or exceeding) current regulatory thresholds.