Boilers & Pollution Abatement

Boilers & Pollution Abatement


What is a Boiler?

A boiler is a pressurized vessel that produces steam.

What is a Boiler Used For?

Boilers are used for various residential, commercial, and industrial applications. They are used in places such as hospitals, food manufacturing facilities, and universities as well as in many industrial facilities where large amounts of steam is required.

There are Two Types of Boilers

  • A Firetube Boiler is a tube with a fuel source that heats the water around it to produce steam
  • A Watertube Boiler is a fuel source outside of multiple tubes which heats up the water within the tubes to produce steam

Can You Destroy Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in a Boiler?

VOCs typically have to be destroyed at a temperature of 1450°F (preferably 1500°F). The typical high fire operating temperature of a boiler exceeds that, making this method attractive. However, there are many operating phases of a boiler that will make this method almost impossible.

The process containing VOCs has to be directed through the combustion air side of the burner, so the process flow cannot exceed the maximum combustion air required to operate the burner at maximum capacity.

The furnace volume operating at higher than 1450°F has to be sufficiently large to equal the 0.5-second retention time required to destroy the VOCs.

The boiler operation is controlled by steam demand, so at a lower steam demand, the furnace temperature will reduce to lower than 1450°F, which will affect the destruction efficiency, as it is below the normally accepted temperature by air quality agencies.


To achieve destruction efficiency required by air quality agencies, the boiler must include the following conditions:

  1. Combustion air at the maximum burner must be equal to or larger than the process containing VOCs.
  2. Boiler furnace volume must equal the 0.5-second retention time required.
  3. Boiler furnace temperature must equal or exceed 1450°
  4. Boiler burner cannot be operated by steam demand. The boiler must always operate at maximum capacity.

As a boiler must meet extremely high temperatures and operate at maximum capacity simultaneously, achieving a destruction efficiency acceptable to air quality agencies is challenging.

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