Scrubber systems are a diverse group of air pollution control devices that can be used to remove particulates and/or gases from industrial exhaust streams. Traditionally, the term "scrubber" has referred to pollution control devices that used liquid to "scrub" unwanted pollutants from a gas stream. Recently, the term is also used to describe systems that inject a dry reagent or slurry into a dirty exhaust stream to "scrub out" acid gases. Scrubbers are one of the primary devices that control gaseous emissions, especially acid gases.
The exhaust gases of combustion may at times contain substances considered harmful to the environment, and it is the job of the scrubber to either remove those substances from the exhaust gas stream, or to neutralize those substances so that they cannot do any harm once emitted into the environment as part of the exhaust gas stream.Wet scrubbing
A wet scrubber is used to clean air or other gases of various pollutants and dust particles. Wet scrubbing works via the contact of target compounds or particulate matter with the scrubbing solution. Solutions may simply be water (for dust) or complex solutions of reagents that specifically target certain compounds.
Removal efficiency of pollutants is improved by increasing residence time in the scrubber or by the increase of surface area of the scrubber solution by the use of a spray nozzle, packed towers or an aspirator. Wet scrubbers will often significantly increase the proportion of water in waste gases of industrial processes which can be seen in a stack plume.Typical wet scrubber
Compliance agencies typically place minimum DP thresholds on wet scrubber.Dry scrubbing
A dry or semi-dry scrubbing system, unlike the wet scrubber, does not saturate with moisture the flue gas stream that is being treated. In some cases no moisture is added; while in other designs only the amount of moisture that can be evaporated in the flue gas without condensing is added.
Dry scrubbing systems can be categorized as dry sorbent injectors (DSIs) or as spray dryer absorbers (SDAs). Spray dryer absorbers are also called semi-dry scrubbers or spray dryers.
Dry sorbent injection involves the addition of an alkaline material (usually hydrated lime or soda ash) into the gas stream to react with the acid gases. The sorbent can be injected directly into several different locations: the combustion process, the flue gas duct (ahead of the particulate control device), or an open reaction chamber (if one exists). The acid gases react with the alkaline sorbents to form solid salts which are removed in the particulate control device. These simple systems can achieve only limited acid gas (SO2 and HCl) removal efficiencies. Higher collection efficiencies can be achieved by increasing the flue gas humidity (i.e., cooling using water spray). These devices have been used on medical waste incinerators and a few municipal waste combustors.
In spray dryer absorbers, the flue gases are introduced into an absorbing tower (dryer) where the gases are contacted with a finely atomized alkaline slurry. Acid gases are absorbed by the slurry mixture and react to form solid salts which are removed by the particulate control device. The heat of the flue gas is used to evaporate all the water droplets, leaving a non-saturated flue gas to exit the absorber tower. Spray dryers are capable of achieving high (80+%) acid gas removal efficiencies. These devices have been used on industrial and utility boilers and municipal waste combustors.Typical Applications
- Scrubbing fine particulates and acid gases emitted from incinerators, furnaces and boilers.
- Scrubbing gas phase particulate formations in electronics, chemical and heavy metals industries.
- Sulfur dioxide and hydrochloric acid removal.