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Denver Metro's Solids Processing Buildings Ionized Air Odor Control Systems Eliminate Odor with Ninety-Eight Percent Less Power and Carbon Emissions than Traditional Capture and Treat Technologies

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Polarized air ionizing hardware that produces positively and negatively charged oxygen molecules, or ions, but no ozone will be discussed. This technology has been successfully applied at wastewater facilities in Europe for over twenty years. Operating systems in the US now have a successful track record of over six years. The ionized air effectively oxidizes most air contaminants including hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and other organic gases. In addition to providing odor control to the community and a safe work environment, air ionization is shown to prevent the corrosion of electronics and equipment while saving huge amounts of energy. Systems employing this technology have now been applied at many installations in the United States, and performance data has been obtained from these installations.

These ionizers are modular and can be installed in ductwork on the fresh air supply side of an existing or new ventilation system. Alternatively, small portable modules can be installed as self contained recirculation units complete with fan.

The power savings accrues in the low power costs to operate the modules (35 watts per module) plus the much reduced pressure drop through the air ionization system. These plenums are part of wide open HVAC systems with ion tubes extending into the air stream, thus creating little air flow resistance. This should be compared to traditional collect and treat systems like chemical scrubbers or biofilters that move large air volumes through tightly packed media, with very large pressure drops, requiring high horsepower blowers.

At the 150 million gallon per day (MGD) Denver Metro Wastewater Reclamation District in Denver Colorado (Metro), a 45,533 cubic meters/hr (26,800 CFM) fresh ionized air system has been completed for the Solids Processing Building (SPB) basement, and a 28,373 cubic meters/hr (16,700 CFM) system for the Cake Storage Building.

As a comparison of power costs, if Metro would have installed a biofilter to treat the total of 73,906 cubic meters/hr (43,500 CFM) of sour gas, the annual power cost would be 49,406 at 0.06 per kilowatt-hour for the 94 kilowatt (126 horsepower) total blower capacity required to force the sour gas through a resistant absorbing media. The Metro air ionization systems currently use a total of 1680 watts of power for a total of forty eight (48) ion modules. This represents a total power savings of ninety eight percent (98%) over the biofilter, an annual power cost of only 883, and 48,523 in annual savings.

This Metro air ionization option when compared to a similar sized biofilter also eliminates 548,856 kilogram per year (605 tons per year) of secondary carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) emissions as a result of the reduced power usage.

Energy costs are predicted to escalate dramatically over the next ten years which could be balanced by incentives to reduce carbon footprints.

Keywords: Air Ionization; Corrosion Control; Odor Control; Sustainable Odor Control

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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