At the Toyota automobile manufacturing facility in Kentucky thermal oxidizers are used to destroy the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released during vehicle painting operations. Fosdick & Hilmer was retained to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of recovering heat released to atmosphere from the thermal oxidizer exhaust stacks. The study investigated various available technologies and determined that the best use for the recovered energy, based on Toyota’s utility needs, would be for generation of steam. Based on a conceptual design and plant operating data, an economic analysis was made that demonstrated the economic feasibility of the project. A design-build contract was then issued for construction of the heat recovery system with Fosdick & Hilmer as the Engineer-of-Record.
The system utilizes exhaust gas-to-water heat exchangers (economizers) to recover heat from five thermal oxidizer stacks. The heat is transferred through a closed loop, high temperature hot water (HTHW) system to a water-to-water heat exchanger (steam generator) that produces the steam. Fosdick & Hilmer prepared specifications for the purchase of all major mechanical and electrical equipment, prepared construction drawings, developed sequence of operations, and designed and programmed the control system.
Start-up and commissioning services were provided for all mechanical, electrical power, and instrumentation/control systems designed for the project. This installation is being used by Toyota as a technology prototype that will be adapted and installed in other North American manufacturing plants that use thermal oxidizers for VOC control. Construction was completed in 2005.