Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) interaction with high and low temperature carbon monoxide/hydrogen oxidation catalysts.
Under its duty of care the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) must ensure that Royal Navy (RN) submarines maintain a safe breathable atmosphere. A key component in this is the high-temperature carbon monoxide (CO)/hydrogen (H2) burner. This employs a bed of Moleculite®, a copper oxide/manganese dioxide oxidation catalyst at elevated temperature. Although the primary function of the burner is the removal of H2 and CO an important secondary role is the removal of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). This paper presents the finding of an investigation to determine the removal performance of Moleculite® for several submarine atmosphere VOC. Removal of between 61 and 76 % total VOC content was found, suggesting that the CO/H2 burner has a significant impact on the level of atmospheric VOC. Whilst Moleculite® has been the catalyst of choice for many years, other materials which operate at lower temperatures are of growing interest. Use of these alternatives would provide significant power savings. Low-temperature catalysts have the potential to be poisoned by submarine atmosphere contaminants. The laboratory evaluation of two Johnson-Matthey precious metal catalysts is reported. Results showed that VOC had only a minimal effect on CO and H2 oxidation performance and that these catalysts had an average VOC removal of 78.5 %. Low-temperature catalysts have potential to replace the currently used high-temperature catalyst with no adverse effect on either CO/H2 or VOC removal performance.
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