Unit II Pollution engineering: Types of pollution, Air pollution: sources, effects, technology to combat air pollution and air
quality standards. Technology to combat soil pollution: bioremediation, organic farming.
Pollution Definition: Any andesirable change in any of the property (physical, chemical, or biological characteristics) of any of the components of environment which leads to instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem is called pollution. The contaminat whcich brings about such changes is called polluatant. Although there are some natural pollutants such as volcanoes, pollution generally occurs because of human activity. Biodegradable pollutants, like sewage cause no permanent damage if they are adequately dispersed, but non-biodegradable pollutants, such as lead, may be concentrated as they move up the food chain. Air pollution, associated with basic industries such as oil refining, chemicals, and iron and steel, as well as with the internal combustion engine, is probably the principal offender, followed by water and land pollution. Present-day problems of pollution include acid rain and the burning of fossil fuels to produce excessive carbon dioxide. Different types of pollution based on the part of environment which is polluted: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Air Pollution/atmospheric pollution Noise or sound pollution Water pollution/Hydrospheric pollution Soil pollution/Lithospheric pollution Radioactive pollution Visual pollution Thermal pollution
Air pollution: The air or atmosphere is said to be polluted if the concentration of any of the constituents increases or decreases drastically to cause harmful effect on human health or his environment. Noise or sound pollution: Noise excessive enough to cause psychological or physical damage is considered noise pollution.
Water pollution: Addition of undesirable substances to water that make it harmful to man, animal and aquatic life causing significant changes in the normal activity is referred to as water pollution. Soil pollution: Natural and synthetic materials that can adversely affect the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil thereby affecting the productivity is called as soil pollution. Radioactive pollution: Pollution caused by the radioactive substances mainly in water is radioactive pollution. Visual pollution: Thus litter, billboards and auto junkyards are said to constitute visual pollution. Thermal pollution: Waste heat that alters local climate or affects fish populations in rivers is designated thermal pollution. Air pollution Definition: The presence of natural and artificial substances in the atmospheric environment that affect human health or well-being, or the well-being of any other specific organism. Pragmatically, air pollution also applies to situations where contaminants impact structures and artifacts or esthetic sensibilities (such as visibility or smell). Most artificial impurities are injected into the atmosphere at or near the Earth's surface. The lower atmosphere (troposphere) cleanses itself of some of these pollutants in a few hours or days as the larger particles settle to the surface and soluble gases and particles encounter precipitation or are removed through contact with surface objects. Unfortunately, removal of some pollutants (eg., sulfates and nitrates) by precipitation and dry deposition results in acid deposition, which may cause serious environmental damage. Also, mixing of the pollutants into the upper atmosphere may dilute the concentrations near the Earth's surface, but can cause long-term changes in the chemistry of the upper atmosphere, including the ozone layer. Sources of air pollution I) Sources may be classified in a number of ways. Firstly, 1. Natural sources. Eg. Volcanic eruptions, Forest fires. 2. Anthropogenic/ Manmade sources: Eg. Industrial, Automobile and Fireworks exhausts. II) Another frequent classification is in terms of 1. Stationary sources (power plants, incinerators, industrial operations, and space heating) 2. Moving sources (motor vehicles, ships, aircraft, and rockets). Types of air pollutants:
1. Primary pollutants - products of natural events (like fires and volcanic eruptions) and human
activities added directly to the air
2. Secondary pollutants - formed by interaction of primary pollutants with each other or with
normal components of the air Major Classes of Air Pollutants:
Carbon oxides (CO & CO2) o sources = incomplete/complete combustion of fossil fuels transportation, industry, & home heating o CO2 is an important greenhouse gas, CO2 causes nausea and headache. o CO (carbon monoxide) the most abundant pollutant know to affect human health combines with hemoglobin to form carboxyhaemoglobin & may create problems for infants, the elderly, & those with heart or respiratory diseases Sulfur oxides (Sulphur dioxide (SO2), Sulphur trioxide (SO3) & Hydrogen sulphide, mainly SO2,) o source = combustion of coal & oil (esp. coal), metallurgical process and hydrogen sulphide gas from natural sources. o can react with gases in atmosphere to form sulfuric acid ('acid rain'). SO2 and SO3 react with water to form sulphurous acid (H2SO3) and sulphuric acid (H2SO4) respectively. These acids cause irritation of eyes, nose and throat; they also adversely affect aquatic life. SO2 also damages leather because of the formation of H2SO4 on the leather surface which causes hydrolysis of leather proteins. o High concentrations of SO2 cause chlorosis, plasmolysis, membrane damage, reduced growth, yield and death. o Exposure to SO2 can cause impairment of respiratory function, aggravation of existing respiratory disease (especially bronchitis), and a decrease in the ability of the lungs to clear foreign particles. It can also lead to increased mortality, especially if elevated levels of particulate matter (PM) are also present. Groups that appear most sensitive to the effects of SO2 include asthmatics and other individuals with hyperactive airways, and individuals with chronic obstructive lung or cardiovascular disease. Elderly people and children are also likely to be more sensitive to SO2. o They play an important role in the formation of secondary pollutants called photochemical smog (originally called as London smog). When they combine with another air pollutant Hydrocarbons, they react with one another in the presence of sunlight and form a mixture of compounds including which appears as a blackish haze called photochemical smog. (smoke+fog=smog) (smog formed under the influence of sunlight is photochemical smog) To form, it requires SOx, Hydrocarbons, water vapours, sunlight & atmospheric inversion It is oxidative Nitrogen oxides - NO (nitric oxide) & NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) are major pollutants.
o o o o
source = motor vehicles, industry (burning fossil fuels) and volcanic eruption. Nitrogen dioxide is also formed from the atmospheric nitrogen by electrical energy of lighting and by natural ionizing radiation. The oxides of Nitrogen (NO2) form about 10% of air pollutants. can react with other gases in atmosphere to from nitric acid (HNO3) ('acid rain') These acids cause irritation of eyes, nose and throat; they also adversely affect aquatic life. Nitrogen monoxide like Carbon monoxide lowers the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. Being a strong reducing agent, NO2 react with metals, textiles and other materials. Nitrogen oxides damage plants causing defoliation and necrosis. Nitrogen oxides play an important role in the formation of secondary pollutants called photochemical smog (originally called as Los Angeles smog). When Nitrogen oxides combine with another air pollutant Hydrocarbons, they react with one another in the presence of sunlight and forms a compound called PAN (Peroxy Acetyl Nitrate) and ozone which appears as a yellowish brown haze called photochemical smog. PAN cause eye irritation, soar throat, respiratory irritation and so on. After about 12 hours of exposure cardiopulmonary (heart) activities are impaired. (smoke+fog=smog) (smog formed under the influence of sunlight is photochemical smog) To form, it requires Nox, Hydrocarbons, water vapours, sunlight & atmospheric inversion It is reductive
Volatile organic compounds (hydrocarbons) - methane, benzene, propane, & chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) o source = motor vehicles (evaporation from gas tanks), industry, & various household products o Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher in indoors than outdoors. o Eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment are among the immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure to some organics. At present, not much is known about what health effects occur from the levels of organics usually found in homes. Many organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals; some are suspected of causing, or are known to cause, cancer in humans. o They are also part of photochemical smog. o They cause blood disorder like Methemoglobinemia Suspended particulate matter o solid particles (e.g., dust, soot, & asbestos) & liquid droplets (e.g., pesticides) o sources = power plants, iron/steel mills, land clearing, highway construction, mining, & other activities that disturb or disrupt the earth's surface o act as respiratory irritants; some are known carcinogens (e.g., asbestos) o can aggravate heart/respiratory diseases
Toxic compounds o trace amounts of at least 600 toxic substances (such as lead and mercury) produced by human activities sources of mercury = burning coal and waste (such as medical wastes) Mercury is an element that occurs naturally in the earth’s crust. Most people and wildlife can generally tolerate the extremely low levels of this naturally occuring substance. When mercury enters the body it becomes concentrated in tissue, an effect known as bioaccumulation. Because this element is toxic at very low concentrations, even slight increases in the minute concentrations naturally present in the environment can have serious effects on humans and wildlife. Once mercury enters the water it can be converted to its most toxic form, methyl mercury, by bacteria or chemical reactions. Methyl mercury is absorbed by tiny aquatic organisms, which are then eaten by small fish. The chemical is stored in the fish tissue and is passed on at increasing concentrations to larger predator fish. People and wildlife at the top of the food chain are consequently exposed to elevated amounts of methyl mercury through the contaminated fish they consume.
SUMMARY of Effects of Air Pollutants The major concern with air pollution relates to its effects on humans. Since most people spend most of their time indoors, there has been increased interest in air-pollution concentrations in homes, workplaces, and shopping areas. Much of the early information on health effects came from occupational health studies completed prior to the implementation of general air-quality standards. Air pollution principally injures the respiratory system, and health effects can be studied through three approaches, clinical, epidemiological, and toxicological. Clinical studies use human subjects in controlled laboratory conditions, epidemiological studies assess human subjects (health records) in real-world conditions, and toxicological studies are conducted on animals or simple cellular systems. Of course, epidemiological studies are the most closely related to actual conditions, but they are the most difficult to interpret because of the lack of control and the subsequent problems with statistical analysis. Another difficulty arises because of differences in response among different people. For example, elderly asthmatics are likely to be more strongly affected by sulfur dioxide than the teenage members of a hiking club. Damage to vegetation by air pollution is of many kinds. Sulfur dioxide may damage field crops such as alfalfa and trees such as pines, especially during the growing season. Both hydrogen fluoride (HF) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in high concentrations have been shown to be harmful to citrus trees and ornamental plants, which are of economic, importance in central Florida. Ozone and ethylene are other contaminants that cause damage to certain kinds of vegetation. Air pollution can affect the dynamics of the atmosphere through changes in longwave and shortwave radiation processes. Particles can absorb or reflect incoming short-wave solar radiation,
keeping it from the Earth's surface during the day. Greenhouse gases can absorb long-wave radiation emitted by the Earth's surface and atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, methane, fluorocarbons, nitrous oxides, ozone, and water vapor are important greenhouse gases. These represent a class of gases that selectively absorb long-wave radiation. This effect warms the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere and surface higher than would be found in the absence of an atmosphere (the greenhouse effect). Because the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is rising, there is a possibility that the temperature of the atmosphere will gradually rise, possibly resulting in a general warming of the global climate over a time period of several generations. Researchers are also concerned with pollution of the stratosphere (10–50 km or 6–30 mi above the Earth's surface) by aircraft and by broad surface sources. The stratosphere is important, because it contains the ozone layer, which absorbs part of the Sun's short-wave radiation and keeps it from reaching the surface. If the ozone layer is significantly depleted, an increase in skin cancer in humans is expected. Each 1% loss of ozone is estimated to increase the skin cancer rate 3–6%. Visibility is reduced as concentrations of aerosols or particles increase. The particles do not just affect visibility by themselves but also act as condensation nuclei for cloud or haze formation. In each of the three serious air-pollution episodes discussed above, smog (smoke and fog) were present with greatly reduced visibility.
Air pollution control measures: There are 5 methods of controlling air pollution. They are 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Proper planning of industrial area like zoning. Dilution of source discharge by use of tall stalks. Using source correction methods Vegetation and Use of controlling equipments
1. Proper planning of industrial area like zoning Air pollution can be effectively controlled by adopting the zoning system at the planning stage itself. Cumulative zoning in the past has resulted in less availability of land for industries. Permissible system: Modified system of Cumulative zoning, though this system has also resulted in crowding of industrial zones with other uses besides industry. Exclusive zoning system: which provides for compatible uses for each zone, excluding other uses. In this system a separate zone or area is set aside for industries (known as industrial area or
industrial zone), thereby reducing the ill effects of air pollution on urban dwellers. By proper zoning, the planning of the city should be done such that residential areas and heavy industries are not located too close to teach other. This is achieved by providing a green belt between the industries and the township. In India, zoning system varies from city to city. For example, in the industrial estate of Bangalore, only three zones are provided for light, medium and large industries. Bombay plan has listed four zones, 1. Small repairing and light manufacturing units, permissible in residential areas, 2. Service industrial zone, 3. Special industrial zone and 4. General industrial zone.
2. Dilution of source discharge by use of tall stacks The atmosphere, like natural stream, possesses self-cleansing properties, which continuously clean and remove the pollutants from the atmosphere under natural conditions, provided the pollutants are discharged in the atmosphere judiciously so that effective dispersion takes place. If the pollutants are carried away to some distance or taken to high altitudes, they are reduced in concentration by diffusion and dilution. The pollutants are taken to high altitudes by means of tall stacks. The height of the stack should be such that the maximum ground level concentration, which varies inversely with the square of the stack height, is within the permissible limits. Tall stacks penetrate the inversion layer and disperse the contaminants easily so that ground level concentration is less harmful. Dilution of pollutants in air depends on atmospheric temperature and speed and direction of the wind. Disadvantage: It is a short term contact measure, which in reality brings about highly undesirable long range effects. This is so because dilution only dilutes the contaminants to levels at which their harmful effects are less noticeable near their original source whereas at a considerable distance from the source, there contaminants eventually come down in some from or another.
3. Using source correction methods: This method is known as air pollution prevention at source. This can be achieved through: a. b. c. d. Change in raw materials Process changes and Equipment or replacement. Maintenance of equipment
a. Change in raw material: If one type of the raw material, currently in use results in air pollution problem while a substitute material, which may be of purer grade, does not, the substitution will be more desirable. The raw material in current use may contain certain ingredient which is not essential for the process by which contributes to pollution, the non-essential ingredient should be removed through prior processing so that pollution can be minimized. (Low sulphur fuel which has
less pollution potential can be used as an alternative to high sulphur fuels.).Comparatively more refined liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be used instead of traditional high contaminant fuels such as coal. b. Process modification: Atmospheric pollutants emissions can sometimes be reduced by adopting modified or new processes. 1. If coal is washed before pulverized, then fly ash emissions are considerably reduced. 2. If air intake of boiler furnace is adjusted, then excess fly ash emissions at power plants can be reduced. 3. Use of exhaust hoods and ducts over several types of industrial ovens have not only reduced pollutants but also have resulted in the recovery of valuable solvents that could have become air pollutants. 4. Similarly volatile substances can be recovered by condensation and the non condensable gases can be recycled for additional reactions. c. Equipment modification or replacement: Old equipment, which contributes to greater degree of air pollution, can be modified or completely replaced. 1. Smoke, carbon monoxide and fumes can be reduced if open hearth furnaces are replaced with controlled basic oxygen furnaces or electric furnaces. 2. In petroleum refineries, loss of hydrocarbon vapours from storage tanks due to evaporation, temperature changes or displacement during filling, etc., can be reduced by designing the storage tanks with floating roof covers. 3. Pressuring the storage tanks in the above case can also give similar results. d. Maintenance of equipment An appreciable amount of pollution is caused due to poor maintenance of the equipment, which includes the leakage around ducts, pipes, valves and pumps etc. emissions of pollutants due to negligence can be minimized by a routine check-up of the seals and gaskets. 4. Vegetation Plants contribute towards controlling air pollution by utilizing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen in the process of photosynthesis. This purifies the air removal of gaseous pollutants (CO2) for the respiration of men and animals. Gaseous pollutants like carbon monoxide are fixed by some plants, namely Coleus blumeri, Ficus variegate and Phascolus vulgaris. Species of Pinus, Quercus, Pyrus, Juniperus and Vitis depollute the air by metabolizing nitrogen oxides. Plenty of trees should be planted, especially around those areas which are declared as high risk areas of pollution. 5. Control at source by equipment The most effective means of dealing with the problem of air pollution is to prevent emission at the source itself. In the case of industrial pollutants, it is often achieved by investigating various approaches at an early stage of the process. Design, development and selecting of those methods
should be emphasized which do not contribute to air pollution. Pollution control equipments are generally classified into two types.
Pollution control equipments (PCE)
Control devices for particulate contaminants Gravitational settling Cyclone separators Fabric filters Electrostatic precipitators Wet collectors (scrubbers)
Control devices for gaseous contaminants
The particulate matter from gas stream can be removed at source using various types of control equipment. Various methods are available, but to select the required equipment certain basic data must be available. The required data are: 1. 2. 3. 4. Quality of gas to be treated and its variation with time. Nature and concentration of matter to be removed. Temperature and pressure of gas stream. Nature of the gas phase.
Gravity settling chambers
A typical horizontal flow gravity settling chamber is constructed in the form of a long horizontal box with inlet, outlet, and dust collection hoppers. The dust-laden air stream enters the unit at the inlet, then enters the expansion section, which causes the air velocity to be reduced and particles to settle by gravity. Gravitation force may be employed to remove particulates
in settling chambers when the settling velocity is greater than about 0.12 m/s. The chambers are provided with enlarged areas to minimize horizontal velocities and allow time for the vertical velocity to carry the particle to the floor. The chamber usually operates with velocity between 0.5 and 2.8 m/s, although for best operating results the gas flow should be uniformly maintained at less than 0.3 m/s.
Settling chamber design based on laminar flow requires either a very large size or large number of trays with an awkward shape of chamber. The laminar chamber has the advantage of giving theoretically perfect collection efficiency for particles of the designated size but is of little practical value since the efficiency drops off rapidly with smaller particles. The most practical flow in the settling chamber will probably be turbulent rather than laminar. Thus, turbulent chamber offers a more practical design concept. The chamber should be reasonably designed for the removal of 99% of the particles. Here an improved type of settling chamber is the baffle chamber beeing used; the
baffles cause sudden changes of the direction of the air stream thus enhancing particle separation and collection. The motion thus induced is superimposed on the motion due to gravity. Thus, particle collection is accomplished by a combination of gravity and an inertial effect. Particles as small as 10 to 20 µm can be collected. The settling chamber with baffles is more compact and requires less space then the simple gravity settling chamber. Settling chambers are the simplest and crudest PCE and are best used upstream of more efficient collectors. They can then reduce the load, improve the performance and extend the life of the more efficient and more expensive device, and the dust can be recovered more easily. Settling chambers have been used in many industries, including metal refining, foodstuffs, and power plants. The advantages of settling chambers include: low cost of construction and maintenance; few maintenance problems; relatively low pressure drops; temperature and pressure limitations imposed only by the materials of construction used; dry disposal of solid particulates. The disadvantages include large space requirements and relatively low overall collection efficiency.
Cyclone separators The most widely used mechanical collector is the cyclone. Instead of gravitational force, centrifugal force is utilized by cyclone separators to separate the particulate matter from the polluted gas. Centrifugal force several times greater than gravitational force can be generated by spinning gas stream and this quality makes cyclone separators more effective in removing much smaller particulates than can possibly be removed by gravitational settling chambers. A simple
cyclone separator consists of a cylinder with a conical base. A tangential inlet discharging near the top and an outlet for discharging the particulates is present at the base of the cone.
Mechanism of action: The mechanism depends on centrifugal force instead of gravity to separate particles from gas stream. The generated centrifugal force can be several times greater than the gravitational force. Therefore, particles that can be removed in centrifugal collection are much smaller than those that can be removed in gravity settling chambers. Reverse flow cyclone consists of a cylindrical shell, a conical base dust hopper and an inlet where the dust laden gas enters tangentially. The dust laden gas enters tangentially, receives a rotating motion and generates a centrifugal force due to which the particulates are thrown to the cyclone walls as the gas spirals upwards inside the cone (i.e., flow reverses to form an inner vortex which leaves flow through the outlet). Particles slide down the walls of the cone and into the hopper. The operating or separating efficiency of cyclone depends on the magnitude of the centrifugal force exerted on the particles. The greater the centrifugal force, the greater the separating efficiency. Like settling chambers, cyclones are frequently used as pre-treatment units to precede other, higher-efficiency air cleaning devices. The advantages of settling chambers apply also to cyclones, and in addition cyclones can be used over a broad range of pressures and temperatures, from below ambient to above 1000oC. Their performance is insensitive to inlet dust concentration at the inlet; efficiency can increase with increasing particle concentration; and they can be used effectively for the removal of liquid droplets from gases, as in the discharge from absorption columns. The disadvantage is the low efficiency for airborne particles finer than 5 µm.
Fabric filters Filtration is one of the oldest and most widely used methods for separation of particulates from a carrier gas. A filter is a porous structure composed of a granular or fibrous material, which retains the particulates and allows the gas to pass through the voids of the filter. Small particles are initially retained on the fabric by direct interception, inertial impaction, diffusion and gravitational settling. The filter is constructed of any material compatible with the carrier gas and particulates and may be arranged in fabric, cloth filters or deep-bed filters.
Fibrous and deep-bed filters have large void spaces amounting from 97 to 99 % of the total volume. Fabric filters are made in the form of tubular bags or cloth envelopes and are suitable for a dust loading of the order of 1 g/m3. They are capable of removing dust particles as small as 0.5 microns and will remove substantial quantities of particles of which are closed and lower ends are attached to an inlet manifold. The hopper at the bottom serves as a collector for the dust. The gas entering through the inlet pipe strikes a baffle plate, which causes the larger particles to fall into the hopper due to gravity. The carrier gas then flows upward into the tubes and then outward through the fabric, leaving the particulate matter as a cake on the inside of the bags. The filter efficiency during pre-coat formation is low but increases as the pre-coat formed, until a final efficiency of over 99% is achieved. The pre-coat acts as a part of the filter medium, which further helps in the removal of particulates. Many such bags are hung in a baghouse. For efficient filtration and a longer life, the filter bags must be cleaned occasionally by a mechanical shaker to prevent too many particulate layers from building up on the inside surfaces of the bag. The advantages of fabric filters include high efficiency for fine particles, ease of operation and maintenance, dry disposal of solid particles. The disadvantages include relatively high installation and operating costs, limitations for use in high temperatures and in handling sticky materials.
Electrostatic precipitators (ESPs)
Electrostatic precipitators are the most popular methods for efficient removal of fine solids and liquids from gas streams: they can have collecting efficiencies of over 99%. A high potential electric field is established between discharge and collecting electrodes of opposite polarity. The discharge electrode is of small cross sectional area, such as a wire or piece of flat stock, and the collection electrode is large in surface area, such as a plate. The dust-laden gas to be cleaned passes through the field. At a critical voltage, the gas molecules are ionized at or near the surface of the discharge electrode. Ions of the same polarity as the discharge electrode attach themselves to neutral dust particles, which are then attracted to the collecting plate. On contact with the
collecting surface, dust particles lose their charge and can then be easily removed by vibration, washing or by gravity. The advantages of ESPs include: high collection efficiency for small particles; low operating pressure drops; temperature and pressure limitations imposed only by the construction materials used; dry disposal of solid particles. The disadvantages include large space requirements, high cost, and need for skilled operation and maintenance. The success of a precipitator depends not only on the quality of the system but also on adequate operation and maintenance; therefore, welltrained operators are required. Scrubbers Scrubber is a device used to entrap a targeted object using a scrubbing medium. The scrubbing medium can be selected based on the properties of the pollutant and the carrier gas in the exhaust. In a scrubber, the polluted gas stream is brought into contact with the suitable scrubbing medium, by spraying, by forcing through, by sucking out or by some other contact method. The scrubbing media entraps the targeted pollutant by physical phenomenon like simple capture, adsorption, etc. or by chemical phenomenon like absorption, dissolution, ion exchange, etc. Based on the type of scrubbing media used, the scrubbers are of two types, dry scrubbers and wet scrubbers. In dry scrubbers solid scrubbing media like activated granular charcoal, activated alumina, zeolt, etc. been used Scrubbers can be designed to collect particulate matter and/or gaseous pollutants. Wet scrubbers remove dust particles by capturing them in liquid droplets. Wet scrubbers remove pollutant gases by dissolving or absorbing them into the liquid. Wet scrubbers are widely used in cleaning contaminated gas streams because of their ability to remove effectively both particulate and gaseous pollutants. They are designed to incorporate small dust particles into larger water droplets, which can then be removed by simple mechanisms such as gravity, impaction on baffles, or by centrifugal collectors. The droplets are produced, for example, by spray nozzles, by the shearing a liquid film with the gas stream, or by the motion of a mechanically driven rotor, and principles used to incorporate the dust into droplets include inertial impaction, direct interception, diffusion, Advantages and disadvantages For particulate control, wet scrubbers (also referred to as wet collectors) are evaluated against fabric filters and electrostatic precipitators (ESPs). Some advantages of wet scrubbers over these devices are as follows:
• • • •
Wet scrubbers have the ability to handle high temperatures and moisture. In wet scrubbers, the inlet gases are cooled, resulting in smaller overall size of equipment. Wet scrubbers can remove both gases and particulate matter. Wet scrubbers can neutralize corrosive gases.
Some disadvantages of wet scrubbers include corrosion, the need for entrainment separation or mist removal to obtain high efficiencies and the need for treatment or reuse of spent liquid.
Table 1 summarizes these advantages and disadvantages. Wet scrubbers have been used in a variety of industries such as acid plants, fertilizer plants, steel mills, asphalt plants, and large power plants. Table 1. Relative advantages and disadvantages of wet scrubbers compared to other control devices Advantages Small space requirements Scrubbers reduce the temperature and volume of the unsaturated exhaust stream. Therefore, vessel sizes, including fans and ducts downstream, are smaller than those of other control devices. Smaller sizes result in lower capital costs and more flexibility in site location of the scrubber. No secondary dust sources Once particulate matter is collected, it cannot escape from hoppers or during transport. Handles high-temperature, highhumidity gas streams No temperature limits or condensation problems can occur as in baghouses or ESPs. Minimal fire and explosion hazards Various dry dusts are flammable. Using water eliminates the possibility of explosions. Ability to collect both gases and particulate matter Disadvantages Corrosion problems Water and dissolved pollutants can form highly corrosive acid solutions. Proper construction materials are very important. Also, wet-dry interface areas can result in corrosion. High power requirements High collection efficiencies for particulate matter are attainable only at high pressure drops, resulting in high operating costs. Water-disposal problems Settling ponds or sludge clarifiers may be needed to meet waste-water regulations. Difficult product recovery Dewatering and drying of scrubber sludge make recovery of any dust for reuse very expensive and difficult. Meteorological problems The saturated exhaust gases can produce a wet, visible steam plume. Fog and precipitation from the plume may cause local meteorological problems.
Gaseous pollutants Control:
Control of gas and vapor pollutants can be carried out in several ways. Elimination of the source of pollution should be the first consideration. Unfortunately, there are relatively few economic alternatives to soil vapor extraction processes (SVE) when only the soil above the groundwater table (vadose zone) requires treatment. In some instances the contamination extends through the
vadose zone to the groundwater, and a treatment technology used to treat the groundwater may be combined to treat the vadose zone soil. Additional such technologies are described under alternatives to SVE. More typically, SVE is a favorable economic remedy, and toxic vapors will require treatment to prevent their release to the atmosphere.
Commonly applied technologies for treating gases and vapor include the following: absorption, adsorption, condensation, thermal oxidation (catalytic and non-catalytic) and biofiltration. Each of these treatment techniques are typically economic over a certain range of concentrations, and are better suited to treat some pollutants than others. Because pollutant concentrations from SVE operations often decrease over the period of treatment from a moderate (about 1000 ppm) to low (about 10 ppm or less) level, condensation and absorption have rarely been used for SVE.1 Those two processes also do not destroy the pollutant, but they can be combined with processes that do destroy the compounds. Those two technologies will not be discussed further here. Adsorption Adsorption is an interfacial phenomenon, molecules adhere at the surface of the solid adsorbent. A large surface area is required to collect the pollutant molecules resulting in a larger physical size and container. Adsorption from dilute gas streams is complicated by the occurrence of high humidity and the presence of other compounds whose removal is not desired, but which also occupy adsorption sites. Competition for adsorption sites reduces the capacity of the adsorbent for the target molecules. At high relative humidity, a phenomenon known as "capillary condensation" results in further loss of adsorption capacity further increasing the need for adsorbent and the size of the unit. Although hydrophobic adsorbents are now available, used in industrial applications, and perform better under high humidity conditions than granular activated carbon GAC, they are too expensive for use with non-regenerable systems. Adsorption systems used for SVE operation have traditionally been non-regenerable systems because of the low concentrations. Since pollutants are only trapped, and not destroyed by adsorption, disposal of the spent adsorbent must be taken into consideration, since it may need to be treated as a hazardous waste. Absorption The removal of one or more selected components from a gas mixture by absorption is probably the most important operation in the control of gaseous pollutant emissions. Absorption is a process in which a gaseous pollutant is dissolved in a liquid. Water is the most commonly used absorbent liquid. As the gas stream passes through the liquid, the liquid absorbs the gas, in much the same way that sugar is absorbed in a glass of water when stirred. Absorption is commonly used to recover products or to purify gas streams that have high concentrations of organic compounds. Absorption equipment is designed to get as much mixing between the gas and liquid as possible.
Absorbers are often referred to as scrubbers, and there are various types of absorption equipment. The principal types of gas absorption equipment include spray towers, packed columns, spray chambers, and venture scrubbers. The packed column is by far the most commonly used for the absorption of gaseous pollutants. The packed column absorber has a column filled with an inert (nonreactive) substance, such as plastic or ceramic, which increases the liquid surface area for the liquid/gas interface. The inert material helps to maximize the absorption capability of the column. In addition, the introduction of the gas and liquid at opposite ends of the column causes mixing to be more efficient because of the counter-current flow Typical packed column through the column. In general, absorbers can achieve diagram removal efficiencies grater than 95 percent. One potential problem with absorption is the generation of waste-water, which converts an air pollution problem to a water pollution problem. Incineration Incineration, also known as combustion, is most used to control the emissions of organic compounds from process industries. This control technique refers to the rapid oxidation of a substance through the combination of oxygen with a combustible material in the presence of heat. When combustion is complete, the gaseous stream is converted to carbon dioxide and water vapor. Incomplete combustion will result in some pollutants being released into the atmosphere. Smoke is one indication of incomplete combustion. Equipment used to control waste gases by combustion can be divided in three categories: direct combustion or flaring, thermal incineration and catalytic incineration. Choosing the proper device depends on many factors, including type of hazardous contaminants in the waste stream, concentration of combustibles in the stream, process flow rate, control requirements, and an economic evaluation. A direct combustor or flare is a device in which air and all the combustible waste gases react at the burner. Complete combustion must occur instantaneously since there is no residence chamber. Flares are commonly used for disposal of waste gases during process upsets, such as those that take place when a process is started or shut down. A flare can be used to control almost any emission stream containing volatile organic compounds. Studies conducted by EPA have shown that the destruction efficiency of a flare is about 98 percent. In thermal incinerators the combustible waste gases pass over or around a burner flame into a residence chamber where oxidation of the waste gases is completed. For thermal incineration, it is important that the
Thermal incinerator: General case
vapor stream directed to the thermal incinerator have a constant combustible gas concentration and flow rate. These devices are not well-suited to vapor streams that fluctuate, because the efficiency of the combustion process depends on the proper mixing of vapors and a specific residence time in the combustion chamber. Residence time is the amount of time the fuel mixture remains in the combustion chamber. Often, supplementary fuel is added to a thermal incinerator to supplement the quantity of pollutant gases being burned by the incinerator. Energy and heat produced by the incineration process can be recovered and put to beneficial uses at a facility. Thermal incinerators can destroy gaseous pollutants at efficiencies of greater than 99 percent when operated correctly. Catalytic incinerators are very similar to thermal incinerators. The main difference is that after passing through the flame area, the gases pass over a catalyst bed. A catalyst is a substance that enhances a chemical reaction without being changed or consumed by the reaction. A catalyst promotes oxidation at lower temperatures, thereby reducing fuel costs. Destruction efficiencies greater than 95 percent are possible using a catalytic incinerator. Higher efficiencies are possible if larger catalyst volumes or higher temperatures are used. Catalytic incinerators are best suited for emission streams with low VOC content.
Condensation Condensation is the process of converting a gas or vapor to liquid. Any gas can be reduced to a liquid by lowering its temperature and/or increasing its pressure. The most common approach is to reduce the temperature of the gas stream, since increasing the pressure of a gas can be expensive. A simple example of the condensation process is droplets of water forming on the outside of a glass of cold water. The cold temperature of the glass causes water vapor from the surrounding air to pass into the liquid state on the surface of the glass. Condensers are widely used to recover valuable products in a waste stream. Condensers are simple, relatively inexpensive devices that normally use water or air to cool and condense a vapor stream. Condensers are typically used as pretreatment devices. They can be used ahead of adsorbers, absorbers, and incinerators to reduce the total gas volume to be treated by more expensive control equipment. Condensers used for pollution control are contact condensers and surface condensers. In a contact condenser, the gas comes into contact with cold liquid. In a surface condenser, the gas contacts a cooled surface in which cooled liquid or gas is circulated, such as the outside of the tube.
Removal efficiencies of condensers typically range from 50 percent to more than 95 percent, depending on design and applications
Air Quality Standards The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are standards established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency that apply for outdoor air throughout the country. Primary standards are designed to protect human health, including sensitive populations such as children, the elderly, and individuals suffering from respiratory disease. Secondary standards are designed to protect public welfare (e.g. building facades, visibility, crops, and domestic animals). NAAQS requires the EPA to set standards on eight criteria pollutants:
1. Ozone (O3) 2. Particulate Matter
3. 4. 5. 6.
PM10, course particles: 2.5 micrometers (μm) to 10 μm in size (although current implementation includes all particles 10 μg or less in the standard) o PM2.5, fine particles: 2.5 μm in size or less Carbon monoxide (CO) Sulfur dioxide (SO2) Nitrogen oxides (NOx) Lead (Pb)
Review questions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Discuss the sources of air pollution. Mention the effects of air pollution on human health, vegetation and materials. Explain the control methods of air pollution. Discuss on the control of gaseous pollution. Explain the control strategies of automobile emission. Write a note on the equipments used for control of gaseous emissions.