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Air Pollution Aspects of Thermal Waste Processing Systems

Walter R. Niessen, PE, BCEE

Combustion is an important process alternative throughout the environmental field. Incinerators (where the feed is burned to completion) are common for solid wastes (domestic, commercial, industrial and medical) and sewage sludge (biosolids), gases (fume incinerators for VOC or odor control) and liquids (a range of thermal oxidizers, incinerators for salt brines etc.) and many hazardous materials. In the course of achieving the benefits of thermal processing, processes inevitably generate off-gases that contain pollutants that have become the focus of public concern and regulatory scrutiny. The fraction of total facility capital cost for system components functionally directed at compliance with air emission limitations is, for many plants, more than 35% of the total investment. In many instances, the award of air pollution permits is the pacing and controlling event in the implementation of incineration facilities. Because of these realities, those wishing to construct and operate incineration systems should explore and understand the relationships between the quantity and characteristics of air pollutant emissions and:
  • The specific chemical and physical characteristics of the wastes to be burned;
  • The design features and operating conditions of the combustor; and
  • The control affected by alternative air pollution control device(s).
This course has the objective of assisting the student to gain this understanding as an aid to equipment selection and design, permitting, operations and troubleshooting.

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.