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Toluene removal by oxidation reaction in spray wet scrubber: experimental, modeling and optimization

Author(s): Juntima Chungsiriporn | Charun Bunyakan | Roumporn Nikom

Journal: Songklanakarin Journal of Science and Technology
ISSN 0125-3395

Volume: 28;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 1265;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: VOCs | toluene | NaOCl | wet scrubber | optimization

Toluene, an important volatile organic compound (VOC), is used in many kinds of industries, such as painting, printing, coating, and petrochemical industries. The emission of toluene causes serious air pollution, odor problem, flammability problem and affects human health. This paper proposes the removal of toluene from waste air using a spray wet scrubber combining the absorption and oxidation reaction. Aqueous sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) solution was used as the scrubbing liquid in the system. NaOCl, the strongest oxidative agent, presents an effective toluene removal. As the scrubbed toluene is reacted, recirculation of the scrubbing liquid could be operated with a constant removal efficiency throughout the operting time. The investigated variables affecting the removal efficiency were air flow rate, inlet toluene concentration, NaOCl concentration, scrubbing liquid flow rate and size of spray nozzle. Influence of the scrubbing parameters was experimentally studied to develop a mathematical model of the toluene removal efficiency. The removal model reveals that the increase of scrubbing liquid flow rate, toluene concentration, and NaOCl concentration together with the decrease of air flow rate and size of spray nozzle can increase the toluene removal efficiency. Optimization problem with an objective function and constraints was set to provide the maximum toluene removal efficiency and solved by Matlab optimization toolbox. The optimization constraints were formed from the mathematical model and process limitation. The solution of the optimization was an air flow rate of 100 m3/h, toluene concentration of 1500 ppm, NaOCl concentration of 0.02 mol/l, NaOCl solution feed rate of 0.8 m3/h, and spray nozzle size of 0.5 mm. Solution of the optimization gave the highest toluene removal efficiency of 91.7%.
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