Since the 1970s, food manufacturing facilities are responsible for controlling their dangerous gas emissions. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are some of the most common pollutants food factories and bakeries generate, and can severely hinder the environment if released into the atmosphere untreated.

There are now various VOC abatement systems and technologies available that are suitable for different factories, including food manufacturing and packing facilities. In this article, we will provide you with a few tips on how to find the ideal VOC abatement system for your factory.

Do All Food Manufacturers Need VOC Abatement?

As a rule of thumb, only factories that reach or surpass certain thresholds are required to meet VOC abatement regulations. That being said, the vast majority of food manufacturing facilities have VOC and air pollutant emissions above the established limits. Therefore, most food plants need to think about the different ways to destroy these pollutants efficiently and at a low cost.

Large-scale bakeries often produce large amounts of VOCs such as ethanol, which mixes with other gases in the atmosphere to create smog. Because of this, commercial and industrial grade bakeries often need to employ VOC abatement systems that help the destroy pollutants and abide to standards set by the EPA.

Selecting the Best VOC Abatement System

Food manufacturing facilities and bakeries come in a variety of sizes and layouts, both of which influence the type of abatement system you should put in place.

Keep in mind that ethanol is the main volatile organic compounds that bakeries generate, so you have to find an abatement system that can destroy this molecule. You should also think about ways to minimize costs while operating your abatement system as some designs allow you to reuse heat required throughout your facility.

VOC abatement systems that allow bakeries to destroy ethanol emissions can be divided into two groups:

Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO)

Regenerative thermal oxidizers <are very thermally efficient and may be a good application for low VOC loadings in a bakery. RTOs are designed to push the pollutants, such as ethanol, through a series of chambers that employ various energy recovery systems. These abatement systems are designed to achieve temperatures of 815°C (1,500°F) to 980°C (1,800°F) and have extremely high thermal efficiency and destruction efficiency ratings.

Catalytic Oxidizers

While thermal oxidizers rely on high temperatures, catalytic oxidizers have lower operating temperatures. However, these abatement mechanisms rely on industrial-grade precious metal catalysts to create a chemical reaction at temperatures that range from 260°C (500°F) to 345°C (650°F). Catalytic oxidizers could have lower operating costs, and they also are typically smaller and lighter weight than a RTO system making them perfect for larger bakeries that may have space limitations.


Food plants have different components such as boilers and generators that may produce sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen and much more. VOC abatement systems allow these companies to destroy these dangerous emissions and meet EPA-established regulations.

If you want to find out more or get a custom quote for your VOC abatement system, contact The CMM Group today. Get in touch with us by phone or by filling out our online contact form.


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