Electrostatic Smoke Precipitator

By: Jessica Menkarios

What Is It?

An electrostatic smoke precipitator (ESP) is a machine that was invented by Frederick Cottrel. It is used to remove ash and soot from smoke that is created by industries. This makes the smoke that is released into the atmosphere less harsh and damaging to the environment.

Who Uses It?

In general, big companies or industries that release pollution use ESP's. Petroleum refineries, cement plants, municipal waste incinerators, and pulp and paper mills use ESP's. (Whitehead Construction, Inc.)

How It Works

Important Parts Of The Machine

  • Discharge Electrodes: Make a strong electrical field that charges the particles in the smoke.
  • Collection Electrodes: Collect the charged particles in the smoke.
  • Hoppers: Used to temporarily store the ash that has been removed from the smoke. (Whitehead Construction, Inc.)

The Process:

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How It Uses Electrostatics

The machine works because it follows the Laws of Electrostatics. Unlike charges attract, like charges repel, and charged objects attract neutral objects. The law that states charged objects attract neural objects is observed in step one in the diagram above. The neutral smoke particles are attracted to the negative charge in the first electrode. The law that states unlike charges attract is shown in step two in the diagram when the negatively charged smoke particles get attracted to the positively charged metal plates. The machine would not function without the Laws of Electrostatics.

Dirk India Fly Ash collection .mpg



Blake, Leesa . "10.3 Charges at Work." Trans. Array Using an Electric Charge to Reduce Pollution and Waste. Mc Graw-Hill Ryerson. 9th ed. Canada: Diane Wyman, Print.


"An Overview of Electrostatic Precipitators." Whitehead Construction, Inc.. Whitehead Construction, Inc., Web. 12 Feb 2013. <http://www.precip.com/enivironmental-construction-services/electrostatic-precipitators>.

Woodford, Chris. "Electrostatic smoke precipitators." Explain That Stuff!. 7 2012. Web. 12 Feb 2013. <http://www.explainthatstuff.com/electrostaticsmokeprecipitators.html>.

Neundorfer, Knowledge Base. "Electrostatic Precipitator Knowledge Base." Neundorfer Particulate Knowledge.Neundorfer, Inc., Web. 12 Feb 2013. <http://www.neundorfer.com/knowledge_base/electrostatic_precipitators.aspx#itp >.

"Electrostatic Precipitators." IOWA Department of Natural Resources. Web. 14 Feb. 2013. <http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/AirQuality/HowAirPollutionIsControlled/ElectrostaticPrecipitators.aspx>.