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Comment Environment, Health, Safety & Security

Proppants Illustrate Environmental Permitting Issues for Dryers and Kilns

By Thomas F. McGowan, PE TMTS Associates, Inc. |

This article covers permitting and directly related design issues associated with thermal processes used for drying and calcining, using the production of ceramic proppants as an illustrative example. While the magnitude of permitting issues varies significantly with air-quality attainment area status, oxides of nitrogen (NOx), carbon monoxide and particulate matter are always the major issues. With proper design and operation, these emissions can be controlled at a reasonable cost.   What are proppants?  Figure 1. This photo shows a handful of ceramic proppants Carbo Ceramics  Figure 2. Flights allow veiling of sand through hot gas inside a rotary dryer drum TMTS Associates  Figure 3. A view of a proppant kiln Carbo Ceramics  Figure 4. The incadescent ceramic proppant stream entering a rotary cooler downstream of kiln Carbo Ceramics The shale gas gold rush is underway in multiple states throughout the U.S. A critical ingredient that has made shale gas possible are proppants, which are materials used to prop open the fissures in the wells created by hydraulic fracturing. Permitting and related equipment selection are a critical items constraining…
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