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Air vs. Steam Atomization Part 1 – Sustainability

Posted on June 20th, 2017 by in Chemical Manufacturing Excellence

Air-Steam-Atomization-1

Previous posts discussed the various domains of sustainability as related to energy conservation as related to instrumentation and control. For review:

Sustainability is the capacity to endure; it is how systems remain productive indefinitely; it is the endurance of systems and processes. Sustainability includes four interconnected domains: processes, economics, politics and culture.

A holistic approach to energy conservation not only considers these four domains but also their interrelationships with multiple engineering disciplines. It generally helps to involve creative people with skills in multiple disciplines who are not afraid (politically) to make suggestions that could potentially morph into viable projects.

Some years ago, I was in charge of operating a liquid hazardous waste incinerator – reportedly one of the largest such units in the northeastern USA. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this position (and my skillset) provided an opportunity to implement an interesting sustainable energy project that involved all four domains.

In passing, our incineration consultant mentioned that we should consider using air to atomize our liquid wastes instead of steam because it is less expensive to produce compressed air than the same amount of steam. This simple suggestion given in a side conversation morphed into a project with multiple considerations that included energy conservation to safety to reducing emissions to protecting equipment to increasing capacity… all at the same time. In effect, many people with different skillsets were asked to analyze the potential project from many perspectives to ensure that the project was both viable and safe.

Today, this project might be characterized as sustainable and green. In those days, it was an offbeat energy conservation idea looking for economic justification and potential implementation.


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All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.

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