Tasty grilled sausages, crispy fries and Thai noodles are all welcome treats for hungry people looking for lunch or a snack. But what’s delicious to some is a smelly nuisance to the neighbors of such establishments: the constant odor of grilling and frying in their homes. In such cases, it’s a good thing that there are companies like oxytec.
The purification experts
oxytec GmbH offers a range of air and water treatment solutions that are used in many sectors, including private living quarters, industrial and commercial applications, and cruise ships. The Hamburg-based company employs about 30 people.
“We’ve been offering air treatment solutions for various applications since 2004. Our equipment removes annoying odors from the exhaust in large companies, canteens, and also private kitchens,” says managing director Anja Toussaint. But what the market was missing until now was a class of units suitable for small restaurants or mobile snack bars.
“We noticed this niche and developed a compact air purification unit that can clean 600 cubic meters of exhaust per hour,” says Toussaint. With the CAP 600, users can release the cleaned air outside or recycle it back into their facilities.
Four steps to clean air
The purification unit is positioned over the cooking area like a normal exhaust hood and uses so-called plasma technology, which oxytec has worked with for years. “This technology is based on physical principles and needs no chemicals at all” says Toussaint. The exhaust is processed in four steps. Coarse impurities such as grease particles are filtered out by a mesh filter in the pre-separation step.
After this initial purification, an electrostatic filter breaks down the odor-causing molecules using an electric field. That step is followed by a reaction and oxidation process in the low-temperature plasma, a mixture of particles in which the dissociated odor-causing molecules are largely neutralized. Compounds that do not undergo any reactions in this phase are then captured in the fourth step by an activated carbon filter (storage reactor). No one need wrinkle their nose anymore at the air that leaves the unit afterward. The only waste products resulting from the process are carbon dioxide (CO2) and water.
Perfectly adjusted air performance
Along with the sophisticated filtering scheme, the fan is a central component of the purification unit. It has to take in air and compensate for the pressure drop over all four filter stages. But it can’t be very large; it has to fit in the space allowed for in the design. A high protection class was also important to oxytec, since kitchens produce a lot of heat and moisture.
“We tested various fans, and in the end the EC centrifugal fan from ebm-papst was the best fit for our requirements – and it’s also especially energy-efficient.”
Anja Toussaint, managing director oxytec
“We tested various fans, and in the end the EC centrifugal fan from ebm-papst was the best fit for our requirements – and it’s also especially energy-efficient,” says Toussaint. That is of particular benefit to small businesses such as snack bars, for which energy costs are enormously important. But not only will the new CAP 600 help existing snack bars, it also introduces new opportunities. “Now locations can be considered where cooking wasn’t allowed before due to the resulting odors,” says Toussaint.