The Difference between Thermal and Catalytic Oxidation Solutions

The Difference between Thermal and Catalytic Oxidation Solutions

The manufacture of certain products leads to the generation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Once they are dispersed into the atmosphere, these harmful pollutants can have adverse effects on our health and ecosystem. As such, environmental agencies have put in place stringent emission rules to help prevent the potential damage.

For manufacturers, these environmental regulations require the installation of a pollution control system. With the right technology and experience, reputable service providers like Intellishare Environmental can help you get the most suitable industrial exhaust treatment solution for your company. To help you pick the right choice, here are the main differences between thermal and catalytic oxidation solutions.


Although thermal oxidization is still the most used method when it comes to destroying volatile organic compounds, catalytic oxidizers are a more fuel-efficient treatment option. Due to increasing energy prices, manufacturers are looking for ways to conserve energy and reduce production costs. Since catalytic oxidizers are associated with much lower operating and maintenance costs, they are considered the most efficient and cost-effective option. While thermal systems can only oxidize the exhaust stream at 1500 degrees Fahrenheit or above, catalytic units oxidize at 600-700 degrees Fahrenheit, implying better fuel efficiencies.



Although these two systems are similar in construction, thermal oxidizers can serve industries with significantly higher quantities of low VOC concentrated exhaust. For instance, the use of thermal oxidizers allows ceramic, metal, and several other types of industries to address their heavier inflows of exhaust directly. On the other hand, catalytic oxidizers are the best option when there’s a relatively slow flow of exhaust and a high VOC concentration. Apart from working with higher temperature air streams, thermal units are used for higher activity periods than catalytic oxidizers, and this translates to long hours of production.


Thermal systems can be used in more industries than catalytic units. This is because catalyst beds are sensitive to emissions that involve catalyst deactivators such as sulfur, phosphorus, chlorinated compounds, and heavy metals like lead, arsenic, mercury, zinc, antimony, copper, tin, nickel, iron, and chrome. A catalytic oxidizer wouldn’t be the most suitable choice if the air stream contains any of the contaminants mentioned above. Catalytic units are ideal where there’s a relatively slow flow of exhaust and an extremely high concentration of VOCs. Additionally, catalytic systems allow sufficient time for exposure and recycling without necessitating the use of ancillary blowers.


Because they feature customized catalytic beds, catalytic systems require a larger initial investment than thermal oxidizers. But when it comes to oxidization, catalytic systems employ catalysts, thereby consuming significantly less fuel. In addition to reducing the cost of production, catalytic units offer greater longevity than thermal units. If your manufacturing process allows the use of a catalytic oxidizer, the unit will save you money in fuel, production and maintenance costs.


As a type of pollution control system, oxidizers are one of the most recommended options. Although both thermal and catalytic oxidizers have been used to destroy volatile organic compounds for more than two decades, they offer varying benefits. As such, you’ll want to make your choice based on your type of industry.

Tagged with: