Air pollution abatement techniques

Two previous Operational Group features have explained how manufacturers use various types of industrial equipment to treat process air streams to destroy volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odorous emissions from industrial processes.

They highlighted regenerative thermal oxidisers (RTOs), catalytic oxidisers and recuperative oxidisers.

This third feature looks at abatement strategies for controlling emission and air pollution. Here we highlight three types of abatement processes that are designed for particular industries. These are distillation towers, carbon bed and zeolite wheel abatement systems.


Abatement Process Infographic

Caption: In industrial manufacturing, the control of emission and air pollutants is a key component in reducing environmental impact while staying compliant with government regulations. VOCs – Volatile Organic Compounds are substances that emit high levels of vapours or gasses at ordinary room temperature. These can be natural or artificial. Some can be dangerous, such as flammable solvents used in printing ink, and are regulated for safety and environmental reasons. The three different types of air pollution abatement processes designed for particular industries: 1) Distillation towers: separate waste components in waste emissions, liquids, gases, so VOCs can be collected for reuse or destruction, and cleansed effluent can be released into the environment. This is popular for drinks and chemical manufacturing. As well as the removal of salt from water. 2) Carbon Bed Abatement: This process passes exhaust air containing VOCs or solvents through a bed of activated carbon material such as processes coal or charcoal, which absorbs the pollutants and cleans the air. A subsequent process can then release the solvents from the carbon to regenerate the carbon bed. Used in automotive and paint industries, print, textile heat set stenters, waste transfer stations, food processing. 3) Zeolite wheel: A large rotating honeycomb wheel which adsorbs low concentrations of VOCs from large volumes of air. Hot air is then blown through a small section of the wheel releasing the VOCs in a much lower volume of air, which is then sent to a RTO. Used in paint manufacturing, paint environments, such as automotive and aircraft, print, furniture, tape and semi-conductor manufacturing, ship building and repair, fugitive emissions from paint plants. The benefits of air pollution abatement is: reduced energy consumption, improved safety, improved product quality, reduced emissions to atmosphere, compliance with regulations, optimised manufacturing equipment, increased manufacturing capacity when there are highly-efficient abatement systems. Cleaner emissions with a lower environmental impact, improvements for residents living near manufacturing sites, and business savings.



Browse our other infographics in this series:

  1. Regenerative Thermal Oxisiders Infographic | Operational UK (
  2. Catalytic And Recuperative Oxidisers | Operational (