An absorption tower is an industrial tower used to separate out components of a rising gas with the use of a falling liquid to trap the gas. This equipment is used in a variety of settings for purification, processing of materials, and other activities. The absorption tower usually needs to be custom designed for a specific application to ensure efficient and smooth operation. Like other components of a factory, it needs regular cleaning and maintenance to function properly and can be subject to inspection by regulatory officials.
In an absorption tower, the gas is pumped in at the bottom of the tower. It, along with any impurities it contains, begins to float to the top. As it moves toward the top, aerosolized liquid is sprayed into the tower. The droplets catch impurities in the gas and carry them to the bottom of the tower for collection. Some towers can have multiple points where liquid is sprayed out to capture different impurities or maximize the amount of material trapped.
A common use for an absorption tower is as a scrubber. Scrubbers remove material from gases vented from factories to reduce pollution. Air quality standards usually require the use of scrubbers and other safety devices to trap pollutants. In factories using an absorption tower for scrubbing, the waste products captured by the fluid can be safely collected and properly disposed of, or converted into use in other industrial processes. These devices can also be used in settings like refineries to separate out different usable components of gases.
The flow of fluid and gas has to be carefully controlled, as does the temperature, as these factors can have an impact on how much the water can absorb. If conditions in the tower or the factory change, adjustments may need to be made to compensate. Operators can take steps like shutting off components of a factory, using shunts to move waste material to different towers, and so forth to control factory operations and keep conditions as safe and efficient as possible.
For cleaning and maintenance, an absorption tower typically needs to be shut down to allow workers to access it safely. If the tower handles potentially hazardous or toxic substances, special gear may be required to enter it and employees are monitored for signs of exposure. Inspectors can include absorption towers in the list of factory components they examine to confirm compliance with the law and verify claims made by the factory about how it operates.