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How to Extract Energy from Dirty Interior Air
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Industry is often faced with the problem of reducing the level of contaminated air in its plants. The common method used is to exhaust the dirty air and replace it with outside air. This requires heating or cooling of the replacement air. Two basic methods to reduce the energy cost of cleaning air are (1) strip the contaminant from the air with high efficiency air cleaners, and (2) pass the contaminated air through a heat exchanger as it is exhausted to atmosphere. The air cleaner method recycles all the air and individual air cleaners can be considered 100% efficient for the purpose of energy recovery. Since the most common particulate contaminants are in the submicron range (defined as respirable by Industrial Hygienists), the types of air cleaners available that are effective are limited. Air-to-air or air-to-liquid heat exchangers can be used to recover 60% to 80% of the energy from exhaust air streams. Dirty air can be either general plant air or air in process exhaust stacks. The higher temperature in the stacks offers a better payout for the heat exchanger.
Cheney, W. A. (1982). How to Extract Energy from Dirty Interior Air. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from