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Electrostatic precipitator


An electrostatic precipitator (ESP), or electrostatic air cleaner is a particulate collection device that removes particles from a flowing gas (such as air) using the force of an induced electrostatic charge. Electrostatic precipitators are highly efficient filtration devices that minimally impede the flow of gases through the device, and can easily remove fine particulate matter such as dust and smoke from the air stream.[1] In contrast to wet scrubbers which apply energy directly to the flowing fluid medium, an ESP applies energy only to the particulate matter being collected and therefore is very efficient in its consumption of energy (in the form of electricity).

. which assumes infinite remixing of the particles perpendicular to the gas stream. With particles of high resistivity (cement dust for example) Sulfur trioxide is sometimes injected into a flue gas stream to lower the resistivity of the particles in order to improve the collection efficiency of the electrostatic precipitator . the residual effect of a conditioning agent other than sulfuric acid vapor. Resistivity can be determined as a function of temperature in accordance with IEEE Standard 548. Before the test. Data are acquired using an average ash layer electric field of 4 kV/cm. Usually the descending temperature test is suggested when no unusual circumstances are involved. It is believed that this procedure anneals the ash and restores the surface to pre-collection condition. This charges the passing particles. particles are subject to a transverse Electrostatic force that pulls them toward the collecting plates. and 2) Particle size distribution. These properties can be determined economically and accurately in the laboratory. the ash is thermally equilibrated in dry air at 454 °C (850°F) for about 14 hours. The test is run as a function of ascending or descending temperature or both. This results in ascending and descending temperature resistivity curves that show a hysteresis related to the presence and removal of some effect such as a significant level of combustibles. Collection efficiency (R) Precipitator performance is very sensitive due to two particulate properties: 1) Resistivity. the values obtained indicate the maximum ash resistivity. Since relatively low applied voltage is used and no sulfuric acid vapor is present in the environment. This test is conducted in an air environment containing a specified moisture concentration.Principle: Electrodes at high voltage create a corona effect (ionized atmosphere) surrounding them. Once charged. Plates are periodically “rapped” (vibrated) to make the collected particles fall down into a receiver basket. The thermal treatment that occurs between the two test modes is capable of eliminating the foregoing effects. If there is a concern about the effect of combustibles. A widely taught concept to calculate the collection efficiency is the Deutsch model. the combination of the ascending and descending test mode is recommended. or the effect of some other agent that inhibits the reaction of the ash with water vapor.

minimize electric sparking and prevent arcing (sparks are quenched within 1/2 cycle of the TR set). For some difficult applications with low-sulfur fuel hotend units have been built operating above 371 °C (700 deg. The WESP is also commonly used where the gases are high in moisture content. The preferred and most modern type of WESP is a downflow tubular design. including smoke from electricity-generating utilities (coal and oil fired). For a coal-fired boiler the collection is usually performed downstream of the air preheater at about 160 °C (320 deg. WESPs are commonly used to remove liquid droplets such as sulfuric acid mist from industrial process gas streams. Plate style and upflow design WESPs are very unreliable and should not be used in applications where particulate is sticky in nature. maximizing corona production. The original parallel plate–weighted wire design (described above) has evolved as more efficient (and robust) discharge electrode designs were developed.180 m³/s) in the largest coalfired boiler applications. today focusing on rigid (pipe-frame) discharge electrodes to which many sharpened spikes are attached (barbed wire).5 million ACFM (1. salt cake collection from black liquor boilers in pulp mills. or have particles that are sticky in nature.F).Modern industrial electrostatic precipitators ESPs continue to be excellent devices for control of many industrial particulate emissions. such as an automatic voltage control. . Modern controls. contain combustible particulate. theoretically allowing ESPs to stay in operation for years at a time. and catalyst collection from fluidized bed catalytic cracker units in oil refineries to name a few. avoiding damage to the components.F) which provides optimal resistivity of the coal-ash particles. Wet electrostatic precipitator A wet electrostatic precipitator (WESP or wet ESP) operates with saturated air streams (100% relative humidity). Transformer-rectifier systems apply voltages of 50 – 100 kV at relatively high current densities. These devices treat gas volumes from several hundred thousand ACFM to 2. This design allows the collected moisture and particulate to form a slurry that helps to keep the collection surfaces clean. Automatic plate-rapping systems and hopper-evacuation systems remove the collected particulate matter while on line.

Under the action of the field force. they will be polarized. most of them are negatively polarized. When the particles agglomerate and the layers reaches a certain thickness on the plate. That ends the collection process.Basic Working Principle of ESP In high. negatively charged particles migrates towards the positive electrode and in turn release electrons and attach to the positive electrode. rapping system will start to work and the particles will be dislodged from the collecting plate by vibration and falling into the hopper. affected by the electric field force. . There are tremendous amount of electrons and ions existing in the ionized gas.voltage electrostatic field. After the dust particles are combined with these electrons and ions. gas ionization takes place.

one needs to know the advantages and disadvantages of each type of equipment. CYCLONES: Advantages: • • • Low capital cost Ability to operate at high temperatures Low maintenance requirements Disadvantages: • • • Relatively low efficiency Limited to dry particles High operating cost ELECTROSTATIC PRECIPITATORS: Advantages: • • • • • Low operating cost Very high efficiency.CYCLONES versus ELECTROSTATIC PRECIPITATORS Cyclones and electrostatic precipitators are two different types of equipment. each capable of removing particles from an air stream. When the decision arises regarding which type to adopt in a specific situation. even for smaller particles Ability to handle very large gas flow rates with low pressure losses Ability to remove dry as well as wet particles Temperature flexibility in design Disadvantages: • • • • High capital cost Taking a lot of space Not flexible once installed Failure to operate on particles with high electrical resistivity .

This doesn’t mean that they want us to turn into Kermit the Frog. It means that they want us to take a look at the way in which we do it is important for major refineries to update their pollution equipment according to the new standards.asu. however. They want us to look at more fuel efficient vehicles. In this country. and in the end what you have is a refinery that is releasing air that is almost 99% cleaner. many places and people are pushing for a “greener” way of life. Electrostatic precipitators separate the clean from the unclean. Air pollution standards change. This costs millions of dollars. and how much pollution is entering our environment. With that said. it does not burn cleanly.How an Electrostatic Precipitator Works Currently. Figure 1. but they have no choice.html . There are many other factors to the whole “greener” phenomenon.eas. Figure 1 shows an overhead view of how an electrostatic precipitator works. Source: http://www. coal has been making a comeback in big industries. throughout the country. but these seem to be the leading problems. Lately though. we have more coal then we know what to do with. Electrostatic precipitators are designed to deal mostly with coal fired refineries. what things are made of. Top View of ESP.

Figure 2 illustrates the operation of an electrostatic precipitator in its simplest form. They take the incoming dirty air and pass it through a filtration device that purifies the air. The main components of an ESP are: Collecting Plates Discharge Electrodes Rappers Hoppers . Any solid particles left over will fall into a large storage container called a hopper and the clean air is brought out.ESP’s are similar to the way an ionic breeze works. This procedure will inform you on what makes up an electrostatic precipitator and how they work once the pieces are put together.

2. and are welded together in the factory to reduce the installation time at the jobsite. the positively charged plates act as a magnet and pull the particulate gas to them.gif Figure 3 shows a typical collecting plate used in electrostatic precipitators. The plates are placed parallel to the incoming particulate gas. 1. Collecting Plates Figure 3. Each plate contains electrodes which are positively charged. 3. ESP Plate. Source: http://www. The plates are arranged to form a series of gas passages.hamon-researchcottrell. When the particulate gas enters the electrostatic precipitator and is struck with a negative charge The plates have both top and bottom stiffeners and plates which allow better mounting and the ability to deal with more abuse from the rappers. Collecting plates are made from rolled steel.A. There can be anywhere from 30-35 passages inside the electrostatic precipitator shell. .

Figure 4. Figure 4 shows the two spiked discharge electrode. 2. The discharge electrode is mounted to a frame in between the collecting plates.B. These electrodes were once wires that were suspended from the ceiling and weighted at the bottom. . The most common types are the two spiked and multiple spiked electrodes. make the particulate like the magnet on a refrigerator. There are many types of configurations of discharge electrodes which can be tailored to your needs. Discharge Electrode 3. The negatively charged particles that pass by the electrodes and then the counter charge of the collecting plates. Discharging electrodes are a high voltage unit that negatively charges the particulate gas as it enters. but are now a rigid mast. Discharge Electrodes 1.

Rappers are used to dislodge the particulate from the collecting plates. 5. the hammer falls. 2. When the magnet is electrically energized. MIGI Rapper. The hammers are attached to the rods which are attached to a rolling cam above. The MIGI uses magnetic coils to drive the hammer up and down.JPG . 6. Rappers 1. All three are effective in what they do. similar to the way a positive and negative magnet are attracted. Once the electricity is turned off from the magnet. Figure 5. An example of each can be found in Figure 5. similar to the way two negative or positive magnets repel. Pneumatic powered rappers work really well as long as the conditions permit and the factory has compressed air on tap. 7. The cam is turned by an external motor and gear. There are many types of rappers. The magnetic coil is wrapped around the hammer. Some types of rappers are mechanical. Source: http://www. Rappers knock the solid particulate off of the collecting plates where it is collected and then trucked away. MIGI stands for magnetic impulse gravity impact rapper. The pneumatic rapper uses compressed air to operate.C. and the MIGI rapper. the hammer will be pulled up. 3. 4. Mechanical rappers work like a hammer and chisel.

apcnetwork.Figure Hoppers .com/ESP%20Photos/Posters%20Pictures/Rappers/Picture%2003.JPG Source: http://www. Pneumatic Rapper Source: http://www.JPG D.

The worst thing that can happen is that the solid particulate gets wet and hardens in the hopper. This will cause the hoppers to be unable to be emptied causing serious issues. Source: http://www. They are generally made of steel. Figure 8.mercuryresearchcenter. and their only purpose is to store particulate. it is stored there until it is emptied and the particulate is carried away by a conveyor. Hopper.1. Most hoppers are heated so that the presence of moisture will be minimized.jpg How They Work . Once the particulate has entered the hopper. it is then time to collect the falling Figure 8 gives a general view of what a hopper looks like. 2. 3. Hoppers look like upside down triangular prisms. Once the rappers have done their job.

The discharge electrode is a different story. the collecting electrodes are assembled parallel to the inlet duct. it does hold one vital role. The hoppers can have piping running to them for a vacuum operated system which will pull the particulate from the hoppers and bring it to a remote storage facility. They are assembled this way because it is the most economical and efficient way to collect the particulate. 2. It is where the new clean gas will leave the precipitator. Once the particulate has been collected. they are placed in a “shell. Inside of the shell. Almost all of the previous components are located in the shell. 3. The other major external element is the rapper. The final element of an electrostatic precipitator is the outlet duct. It has holes on either side for the inlet and outlet ducts. Once all the previous items have been created. The shell is also insulated to reduce the risk of condensation build up. if the hoppers have this option. It is used to power the electrodes. and is programmed to deliver its powerful strike within a certain timed interval. 6. piping and ductwork on the outside. So in the end that final piece of ductwork gives the gas a final exit strategy from inside the shell where all the work had been done previously. Electricity is the major power source to operate just about everything on the precipitator. but in the end the hoppers collect the particulate. there are wires.” This shell is basically the home of the precipitator. It can also be used to power the vacuum system on the evacuation of the hoppers. valves and access doors are used to evacuate the hoppers. 5. making all the collected particulate fall into the hoppers below. The shell is typically comprised of carbon steel. and powers the rappers. and the hoppers are full. Although not really covered in this procedure very much. The discharge electrode runs perpendicular to the inlet and collecting electrodes.1. As the flue gas comes out of the inlet and enters the precipitator the rigid mast discharge electrodes greet the flue gas and negatively charge them. Condensation will form when the flue gas which can leave the refinery at 200oF hits the inside of a cold precipitator. . Yes. or they can have trucks driven underneath them that will physically truck the ash away. Their main job is to collect what is rapped off the collecting plates. are typically made of carbon steel. The hammer end strikes the top of the collecting plates. both positive and negative. 4. 7. Most precipitators run auxiliary transformers to subsidize the amount of energy needed to keep the precipitators running. They. 8. allowing the positively charge plates that are running parallel to the inlet to collect the flue gas. It sits on top of the roof of the precipitator. just like the shell. Also condensation will interfere with the way in which the electrodes work and render them useless because the condensation will collect on the walls and will begin to collect the particulate before it can be properly taken care of. The hoppers are one of the major external elements.

Conclusion .

. They were originally developed to stop serious smoke and air issues and have definitely helped the environment. incinerators. cement plants. Today electrostatic precipitators are found mainly on large power plants.Electrostatic precipitators have been a reliable technology since the early 1900's. and various boiler applications.