Regenerative thermal oxidizer

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Anaerobic digestion & regenerative thermal oxidiser (left) component of Lübeck mechanical biological treatment plant in Germany, 2007

A regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) is an industrial process for the treatment of exhaust air. The system uses a bed of ceramic material to absorb heat from the exhaust gas. It then uses this captured heat to preheat the incoming process gas stream and destroy air pollutants emitted from process exhaust streams at temperatures ranging from 815°C (1,500 F) to 980°C (1,800 F).

These gas streams are usually produced by processes requiring ventilation, including paint booths, printing, and paper mills. Municipal waste treatment facilities such as mechanical biological treatment plants are required by law in Germany to incorporate these systems. Biological alternatives to this system include biofilters and bioscrubbers.

They are suited to applications with low VOC concentrations but high waste stream flow rates. This is due to their high thermal energy recovery. The basic operation of an RTO consists of passing a hot gas stream over a heat sink material in one direction and recovering that heat by passing a cold gas stream through that same heat sink material in an alternate cycle. They are used to destroy air toxics and VOCs that are discharged in industrial process exhausts.

There is a handful manufacturer of air pollution control systems for industrial use in Europe. They produce highly efficient and cost-effective systems for the removal of:

These companies have been involved in the development, design and planning of waste gas purification systems for a wide range of industries: Global manufacture of turnkey systems, Eisenmann AG with its headquarters in Germany and RTO core business in USA, Cycle Therm (Menomonie, WI), MEGTEC Systems, located in DePere Wisconsin, USA. The CMM Group, located in De Pere, Wisconsin; WK Asia-Pacific Environmental Pte Ltd,located in German Center, Singapore.


The industries they currently serve are:

  • Ethanol Industry
  • Coal Mining Industry (VAM)
  • Car manufacturing
  • Packaging/printing
  • Brick
  • Paint shop
  • Chemical
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Electrical
  • Plastics
  • Food processing
  • Printing
  • Foundries
  • Semiconductor
  • Metallurgical
  • Sewage sludge treatment
  • Metal recycling
  • Wood


Different solutions to the waste gas problems of one of the mentioned industries are available:

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