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Presented to the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, June 8, 2001.
To: Honorable Chairman James M. Jeffords, Senator Bob Smith, and Members of the Committee
Good afternoon esteemed Members of the US Senate Committee, my name is Roy Gat. I come today to present a technology that will finally put an end to the familiar eye irritation and choking feeling we experience as clouds of poisonous gas exhausts from the bus or diesel truck just ahead of us.
In Japan and China, powerful electron beams installed in power plants are utilized to convert tons of hazardous NOx and SOx emissions per day into useful fertilizers. Reductions of over 95% SOx and 80% NOx are achieved.
Advanced Electron Beam Inc (AEB), Wilmington, MA developed a much smaller electron beam source. This source enables viable destruction of hazardous gases from smaller polluters collectively known as area polluters. Area polluters are those pollution sources that are too small or numerous to be inventoried individually. These polluters include diesel trucks, off road equipment, marine vessels, smaller boilers, heaters and turbines. These polluters together account for the vast majority of air pollution and have traditionally been the toughest challenge in the fight against air pollution. They are used in almost all industrial and consumer sectors including power generation, heating, transportation, cement, glass, steel, copper, paper manufacturing, hospitals, schools and homes.
An important advantage of electron beam technology is that it simultaneously reduces NOx, SOx and VOC compounds, thereby eliminating the precursors of smog and acid rain. If adopted, the positive impact of this technology on our environment and quality of life would be dramatic and long lasting.
I will briefly describe the technology, the impact of its adoption on air pollution and the possible government role in accelerating its acceptance.
In the early 1940's microwave, generators were very bulky and expensive. They were exclusively used in military radars. In the mid 40's, Dr. Spencer of Raytheon developed a magnetron tube that made possible a much more compact microwave generator. The results of this invention are well known and spectacular. The smaller size and price tag enabled the application of microwaves in a broad array of industrial and consumer uses from cooking to semiconductor manufacturing.
Electron beams are well known to science to be an energy efficient technique to destroy NOx, SOx, and VOC's pollutants. Traditionally, generation of electron beams requires bulky and expensive equipment. This equipment is notoriously hard to maintain and operate requiring energy guzzling pumps and technicians highly trained in ultrahigh vacuum, and high voltage technologies. Thus far, electron beams have been limited to reducing pollution from large power plants where the high capital equipment costs of the systems can be averaged over very high throughputs.
In contrast, AEB developed an electron beam tube that is smaller, affordable and requires no pumping or maintenance in the field. Tube replacement requires about as much expertise as replacing a light bulb.
In analogy to the invention of the compact microwave generator, AEB's electron beam product enables cost effective effluent reduction for area polluters.
Using only 1% of the polluters energy output to power the electron beam results in reduction of 95% in SOx emissions and 80% in NOx emissions. Concurrent reductions in VOC's also occur and vary in amount depending on the chemical species. Values of over 90% have been measured for TCE.
For example, the NOx and SOx emission from a diesel truck will be mostly eliminated by an electron beam device. There will be approximately 1% reduction in the truck gas mileage.
Area sources comprise 65% of all NOx emission in the USA. Broad application of electron beam technology would result in a reduction of approx. 12,000,000 tons/yr of NOx and 2,000,000 tons/yr of SOx. According to EPA analysis, in the case of diesel fuel related pollution alone, this magnitude reduction in SOx is equivalent to removing 13,000,000 trucks off the roads saving 8000 lives, and preventing 360,000 asthma attacks.
The Senate can accelerate reduction of harmful pollutants by requiring the EPA to review electron beam cost effectiveness specifically in the reduction of NOx, SOx and VOC's from area polluters. Electron beam technology has not yet been evaluated by the EPA and yet electron beams are a formidable weapon in the fight against pollution.
The costs of ownership of the electron beam technology are limited to capital costs and maintenance costs. The maintenance costs are small and could be partially offset by sales of fertilizer produced by the NOx and SOx reduction reactions. The government can propel the implementation of this technology by providing tax credits for the first year of purchase of electron beam systems. The credits will help increase initial demand for the systems so that mass production of these systems becomes viable faster. This tax credit will therefore leverage accelerated pollution control and the resulting important health and environmental benefits.