What are electrostatic precipitators?
Electrostatic precipitators are devices that, using electric fields, separate solid or liquid pollutants present in a gaseous flow. This technology is particularly suitable for the abatement of high-boiling VOCs (such as oils, plasticisers, resins, biomasses, metals), PM and oil mists with granulometry ≥1 μm.
Electrostatic precipitator: operating principle
ESPs uses the electrostatic attraction to separate particulate present in suspension within a gaseous flow. In detail, these solid or liquid particles, are positively or negatively charged thanks to the application of a high voltage electric field (corona discharge). Following this process, the electrically charged particles are deposited on the collecting electrode.
The collected PM is then removed using different methods depending on the nature of the pollutant itself.
The operating principle, therefore, can be summarized in three phases:
- Ionization phase = polluted air passes through the electrostatic filter and it is subjected to an electric field which create ion-electron pairs
- Collection phase = the ionized air passes through high voltage suction plates where the particulate is retained
- Cleaning phase = the retained particles are periodically removed by manual cleaning (cell extraction and washing) or automatic (for example pneumatic vibration systems for dry powders). For the oily particles instead, the natural self-drainage process is activated as the drops, after being agglomerated on the plates, drain due to their weight and create a self-cleaning action of the filter.
Types of electrostatic precipitator
Electrostatic precipitator systems can be divided into two macro families: dry or wet electrostatic precipitators. In dry electrostatic precipitators, the dust deposited on the electrodes is removed thanks to the vibration or the percussion of the electrodes; in wet electrostatic precipitators, on the other hand, the pollutant is removed using water.
Applications of electrostatic precipitator
The electric precipitator represent the ideal solution for the treatment of pollutants present in suspension within a gaseous flow.
This technology is used in different fields such as:
- operations on flexible and/or semi-rigid plastic material (thermofixing);
- mechanical operations involving the use of mineral oils
- calendering operations of flexible plastic materials;
- post-curing operations of rubber products;
- welding operations;
- plastic and rubber processing operations in the industrial sector.
Strenghts of ESP electrostatic precipitator
ESP boilers are characterized by:
- possibility to treat pollutants of different nature and size;
- excellent filtration efficiency (can reach 99%);
- low pressure drops;
- possibility of working with wet fumes;
- high resistance;
- possibility of use for wide temperature ranges
Electrostatic precipitators: maintenance
- Verify ESP proper functioning
- Keep high filtration efficiency
- Reduce economic and energetic wastes
- Comply with safety and environmental rules and regulations
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