NASHVILLE, TENN. — Ultraviolet light is the simple — and relatively cheap — way to cut styrene emissions, according to a company now selling German technology in the United States.
``It is affordable even for small companies,'' said Rudi Weege, president of VVK Weege GmbH of Wiesbaden, Germany.
He spoke at the company's booth at the International Composites Exposition, held Jan. 27-29 in Nashville.
His company recently set up VVK Weege of North America Inc. in Granville, Ohio. Heading the company as vice president and chief operating officer is Douglas Barno, well-known in the U.S. composites industry for his work as director of market development for the Composites Institute, a division of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
Barno said he will continue working for the New York-based Composites Institute on a part-time basis.
The technology cleans up styrene emissions, and other forms of polluted air and odors, in a range of industries.
The smallest version of the Wega machine costs $100,000.
Much more expensive are other styrene-filtering systems such as incinerators and systems, known as bio-filters, that use bacteria, he said.
The technology is not complex.
``We just copied the sun,'' Weege said.
The machine is contained in a rectangular reaction chamber with two stations. Air goes into the first station, where UV light triggers a chemical reaction that breaks up molecules of pollution and odors. In the second stage, a catalytic converter cleans out ozone produced in the first stage and remaining organic compounds that are difficult to oxidize.
``Then what is left? Water and carbon dioxide,'' said Weege.
Every several months, VVK Weege will send technicians to the plant to clean the catalyic converter and remove the waste.
``The customer has nothing to do with the waste,'' he said.
Starting in mid-1997, the company will have two portable trailers for on-site demonstrations at composites plants.
Martin Pultrusion Group, a consulting firm in Hudson, Ohio, will sell the Wega system to North American pultruders. VVK Weege's Granville office will handle all other customers.
Barno said small processors like the technology.
``It's the best practical solution that I've seen to the problem,'' he said.