VOC Volatile organic compounds
Solvents and thick air
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a collective term for carbon-containing substances that are gaseous and thus volatile at room temperature or higher. There is no uniform international definition of VOCs and what they include.
VOCs are very much formed by solvents and are also found in petrol vapours. Especially in industry, the volatile carbon compounds often occur in concentrations and must be removed from the exhaust air.
Hazards due to VOCs
In simple terms, volatile organic compounds degrade the air. Air polluted with these compounds can cause headaches, hypersensitivity reactions, fatigue, reduced performance, sleep disturbances and respiratory irritation in people, also known as “sick building syndrome”.
VOCs are found in summer smog and are also responsible for elevated ozone levels. In addition, the compounds contribute to the atmospheric greenhouse effect.
The TA-Luft counts limits the proportion of VOCs or volatile organic compounds in the exhaust air to 500 g/h in the volume flow and to 50 ppm mass concentration.
Our cleaning technology
Today, exhaust air contaminated with VOCs is often thermally post-treated, i.e. incinerated. In order to achieve the required density, it is often pre-concentrated. This process is energy-intensive and in turn generates pollutants.
Depending on the degree of pollution, we neutralise the volatile organic compounds either with UV ozone or with plasma technology in the volume flow. Because we generate the ozone via UV light, our process is particularly low in pollutants and requires only a fraction of the energy used for post-combustion.
Our technologically unique plasma process destroys the pollutants in a plasma stream. The molecules are heated to ultra-high temperatures in a minimal environment. In so-called cold combustion, the exhaust air thus remains cool.
Advantages of the oxytec solution
- Very effective
- Much lower energy consumption than thermal processes
- Very low maintenance
- Also neutralises almost all other air pollutants
Where volatile organic compounds are formed
All living beings (humans, animals, plants, microorganisms) contribute organic compounds to the environment. Important natural sources of methane are swamps and ruminants. Natural non-methane VOCs include terpenes emitted by many plants.
Among the natural sources that pollute indoor air are bacteria and moulds, known as MVOCs (Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds), which can be effective even after the organisms have died.
Volatile organic compounds are also released by humans through industry. They are found in solvents, in refrigerants and in road traffic. One of the largest sources of all is agriculture with rice cultivation and cattle breeding (methane).