In a world increasingly aware of environmental impacts, reducing industrial pollution has become an urgent priority. Among the various sources of emissions, plumes from industrial activity represent a significant challenge to air quality and the environment in general.

In this context, the development and implementation of new technologies are key tools to effectively address this problem.

What are the consequences of plume emissions in the industry?

First, the plumes emissions created during industrial combustion or drying processes represent a major source of air pollution, which adversely impacts human health, increasing the risk of respiratory diseases and contributing to the formation of phenomena such as acid rain and smog.

In addition, compounds emitted in the plumes, such as greenhouse gases, exacerbate climate change and contribute to global temperature rise.

On the other hand, the plumes also negatively affect nearby ecosystems, altering the quality of soils, water and biodiversity.

The populations in the vicinity of the plant that emits them associate the presence of plumes with all these negative impacts, which is a serious image problem for both the industrial plant operator and the authorities.

What solutions are available to reduce plumes in the industry?

At present, although scarce, there are technologies focused on eliminating plumes in the industry, among which are the Hygroscopic Cycle and Baltimore batteries.

Hygroscopic Cycle

The hygroscopic cycle is an innovative technology that completely eliminates plumes while recovering water and thermal energy in the process.

How does it work? The hygroscopic cycle technology applied to plumes uses the properties of hygroscopic compounds to condense the vapor in the plumes. This condensation allows, in addition to the visual elimination of the plume, the use of thermal energy and the recovery of water that was previously emitted into the atmosphere, which can be used for other industrial purposes.

During the HCT condensation process, part of the particulate matter and organic compounds remain absorbed in the water, significantly reducing particulate emissions to the atmosphere.

Baltimore Batteries

Baltimore coils are designed to reduce the relative humidity in the vicinity of the chimney. As humidity decreases, the visibility of the plume is reduced, as humidity is a key factor in its formation. However, it is important to consider its limitations:

  • No water is recovered in this process.
  • Particles or contaminants present in the plume are not removed.
  • It involves an additional electrical expense due to the operation of the devices that regulate humidity.

In comparison, the hygroscopic cycle offers a more complete solution by removing particulates and achieving considerable water recovery. On the other hand, Baltimore batteries focus primarily on visual plume reduction without addressing other aspects.

Other alternatives to reduce emissions in industry

In addition to existing technologies to eliminate plumes, there are other alternatives to reduce contaminants from plumes. However, it is important to note that these alternatives do not eliminate the display of the plume.

The following are some of them:

Electrostatic precipitators

They are devices that have the function of purifying the air of polluting particles. To do this, they use electricity to generate an electrical charge on the particles and make them adhere to metal plates. In this way, polluted air is prevented from leaving factories that use fossil fuels or carry out other industrial activities.

The problem with these devices is that they are very expensive to install and maintain, and that they are not effective if the particles are very tiny or do not ionize easily.

Fabric filters

Fabric filters, also called baghouses, are used to remove dust and other particles from an air or gas stream. They consist of one or more fabric sleeves that are attached to a metal structure and allow air to pass through, but not solid particles.

These particles accumulate on the surface of the fabric and form a layer called dust cake, which is periodically removed by a cleaning system.

These filters are simple, efficient and versatile, making them one of the most common and economical forms of particulate filtration.

Venturi scrubbers

Venturi scrubbers have been designed to clean contaminated or explosive gases generated in different industrial processes.

Its operating principle is based on harnessing the kinetic energy of the gas flow to atomize the scrubbing liquid, which can be water or a chemical solution, and create a turbulent mixture that captures particles and harmful gases present in the gas flow.

These scrubbers have the advantage of being simple, cost-effective and efficient in removing very fine particles, even smaller than 10 microns, which other scrubbing methods cannot achieve. In addition, they can operate at high temperatures and pressures, and handle high dust loads, making them suitable for applications such as foundry, metallurgy, chemical or mining.

Cyclones

This equipment is used to separate solid particles from gas or liquid flows, taking advantage of the effects of rotation and gravity.

They consist of a cylindrical or conical container, through which the flow containing the particles enters, and which is made to rotate at high speed, generating a vortex. Particles heavier and larger than the cut-off point of the cyclone move towards the walls and exit at the bottom, while the clean flow is extracted at the top.

Cyclones have several advantages, such as structural simplicity, low cost, durability, lack of moving parts and low maintenance. However, they also have some limitations, such as their low efficiency for very small particles, their sensitivity to variations in flow and temperature, and their production of noise and vibrations.

Conclusion

Today, the hygroscopic cycle is positioned as the most effective option to address plume reduction in the industry. However, it is essential to continue promoting the development of these and new technologies that contribute to reducing pollutant emissions in order to preserve our environment.