Everything You Need To Know About How a Wet Scrubber Works
Wet scrubbers are different from dry scrubbers, and beyond the obvious description of “dry versus wet.” Different devices have different applications, and wet scrubbers are equipped to handle the unique needs of specific industries. You need wet scrubbers because you need to do your part to keep the environment clean while also providing a safe and healthful working environment for your employees. If you’ve ever wondered about wet scrubbers and what they can do for your facility, here’s everything you need to know about how a wet scrubber works.
Where Wet Scrubbers Work
We’ll get into more detail later in this article, but here are the basics. Wet scrubbers remove liquid or solid particles from the air by capturing them with a liquid substance before releasing clean air. Some industries which generate dust, sawdust, mineral dust, and similar dry materials can make do with a dry scrubber. The dust is vacuumed up, trapped in cloth or other types of filters, and collected in a silo, hopper, or other receptacle. Wet scrubbers, on the other hand, are used in places that don’t necessarily produce dry dust or particulates. Wet scrubbers turn up in refineries, chemical plants, acid manufacturing facilities, and similar industries. While that’s all fine and dandy, how do they keep these “wetter” industries clean and safe?
Water and More
As mentioned above, wet scrubbers work by absorbing particulates and polluting materials with a liquid. Water is most often used, though other solutions are also employed. Depending on the material to be cleaned and strained of its pollutants, wet scrubbers can use water, sodium carbonate, calcium hydroxide, or sodium hydroxide. It all depends on the chemical makeup of the substance. For example, some acids need to be neutralized during the process. That’s where carbonate and hydroxide come into play. Whatever material is used to collect particulates and other pollutants, it’s the liquid that makes a wet scrubber wet!
The Mechanics of Wet Scrubbers
In any event, the liquid is suspended in the scrubber as mist or droplets and adheres to the polluting substances. This occurs because the liquid possesses an electrical charge (positive, negative, or neutral) that causes it to bind with the offending substances. But what sort of gizmos and doohickeys make this possible? From the outside, wet scrubbers come in different shapes and forms, but many resemble industrial silos.
As the first step, contaminated liquids and air are sucked into the wet scrubber through a central pipe or series of pipes. A fine mist of solution rains down inside the wet scrubber. Meanwhile, the polluted gas entering the wet scrubber rises and passes through the mist, a mist eliminator, and finally through a series of packed beds of absorbent material. As the mist meets and combines with gas, the packed materials also absorb the liquid, removing the harmful stuff—chemicals, acids, bad smells, noxious gasses, and the like. It’s a two-pronged attack on pollution!
One of the key things that wet scrubbers do is to keep all those bad liquids contained. While the gas that has been cleaned of acids, particulates, dust, and more continues to rise and exit the scrubber, all those liquids need to stay put. After the mist has combined with the unclean materials, it drops and collects in the bottom of the scrubber. This liquid is collected and drained into a receptacle created to contain the liquid and protect those handling it. Because the contents are a highly concentrated collection of pollutants, they need to be properly disposed of, depending on their chemical contents. Although that’s not exactly a perfect solution, it’s better than the old-fashioned and deeply dangerous method of simply releasing a plant, factory, or facility’s waste materials into the immediate environment.
Keeping Things Clean
We touched on the sort of things that wet scrubbers are used to clean up, but what are some specific types of wet scrubbers? Most obviously, harmful chemicals in gas form need to be cut off before they enter the surrounding air. The EPA keeps a watchful eye over facilities that produce dangerous acids, ammonia, fluorides, and similar noxious gases. Volatile organic compounds are another hazard, and they can turn up in drugs, refrigeration chemicals, painting products, pesticides, and more. Lastly, dry scrubbers can remove many types of dry particulates from the air, but wet scrubbers add an extra bit of protection as well.
Pluses and Minuses
Wet scrubbers are fantastic, no doubt, but they come with weaknesses as well as strengths. They do indeed keep the air clean and the workplace safer, and they are built to handle whatever the chemicals you’re collecting can dish out. Depending on the job, a wet scrubber can be constructed of fiberglass, steel, iron, or plastic. They’re also good for your bottom line since they’re generally priced well in comparison to other anti-pollutant devices. They can usually be customized to meet facility needs as well.
On the other hand, wet scrubbers are things you turn on and walk away from. They require periodic maintenance and cleaning, mostly because they can deal with some incredibly dangerous and damaging chemicals and other substances. Their gauges and other safety devices should be regularly inspected, recorded, and consulted to keep things out of harm’s way. Still, they’re built to do their jobs and do them right, so there’s rarely a need to worry about them!
Do You Need a Wet Scrubber?
So, that’s everything you need to know about how a wet scrubber works (though there’s always more to learn). If you’re considering purchasing one for your facility, don’t hesitate to contact Dover MEI through our contact page or by calling (800) 772-0053. If you’re looking for wet scrubber manufacturers, let us know. We’ll be happy to offer a consultation and assess your needs. And when you do hire us to build a wet scrubber solution in your facility, be assured that you’ll be able to reach us with questions and concerns at any time! Let us know how we can help. We look forward to hearing from you and meeting your needs!