From generating energy to disposing of waste to creating textiles, industrial combustion systems are essential components of the manufacturing industry. Industrial combustion systems come in many shapes, sizes, and functions. With so many options on the market, manufacturing companies need to have access to information to find the best equipment for their specialized processes.
In this article, you will find everything you need to know about industrial combustion systems, including finding the best enclosed combustion equipment, how to boost productivity with heat recovery steam generators, controlling combustible dust, and essential safety tips for your facility. Keep reading to gain a comprehensive understanding of industrial combustion systems.
What Are Industrial Combustion Systems?
Industrial combustion systems are sizable versions of standard equipment like burners, boilers, furnaces, and more. While residential furnaces and ovens fulfill needs in people’s homes, industrial combustion systems are used to mass-produce products and resources used around the world. These combustion systems are utilized in almost every industry across the United States, with popular sectors including:
- Alternative fuel
- Automotive and general paint finishing
- Building materials
- Chemical and pharmaceuticals
- Clay firing
- Food processing
- Gas boosting
- Glass blowing
- HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning)
- Hot water and steam
- Oil and gas
- Power generation
Two-thirds of installed industrial boilers in the United States are used for the food, paper, chemicals, primary metals, and petroleum industries. Almost all combustion systems are fueled by natural gas, but waste fuels can power paper, petroleum, and metal operations.
Enclosed Combustion Equipment Reduces Energy Consumption
Since most industrial combustion systems are fueled by natural gas, many processing plants seek enclosed combustion systems. Enclosed combustion systems are designed to enhance safety and reduce fossil fuel costs. Safety and reduced costs are accomplished by burning vapors and fugitive emissions in a temperature-controlled chamber that eliminates visible flames and optimizes efficiency.
Reduced energy consumption is essential for caring for the planet, and enclosed combustion systems help manufacturing industries operate in a more environmentally sustainable way. Enclosed combustion equipment can include:
- Enclosed flares: These simple forms of enclosed combustion equipment hide the flame and provide cooling through a natural draft.
- Thermal oxidizers: These devices do not rely on directly igniting the process gas for oxidation, and they offer higher destruction efficiency and lower emissions.
- Direct-fired thermal oxidizers: These thermal units have high destruction efficiencies of 99.99% with impressively low emissions.
- Regenerative thermal oxidizers: Ceramic media captures heat to oxidize the process as it enters. Because of this, these units require little to no fuel.
- Catalytic thermal oxidizers: These types of oxidizers use even less fuel than a direct-fired thermal oxidizer, and they can function as self-sustaining equipment.
As you choose the best enclosed combustion equipment for your factory, keep the following details in mind to help you narrow down your search:
- Emission and destruction efficiency: Does the machine meet both your factory and the state’s requirements for destruction rates?
- Type of process gas: Can the selected equipment destroy gases that get produced in your factory, such as nitrogen, oxygen, and petroleum?
- Upfront investment: Do you have room in your company’s budget to purchase new, high-quality enclosed equipment? If not, can you seek financing from a lender?
- Energy consumption: What is the energy rating on the equipment you’re considering?
- Maintenance needs: What regular maintenance is required? Can you train your employees to keep up with the necessary maintenance needs?
Boost Efficiency With Heat Recovery Steam Generators
In an effort to lower fuel emissions and shrink the greenhouse effect even further, consider pairing enclosed combustion equipment with heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs). Incorporating heat recovery steam generators optimizes overall performance for industrial processes.
How Do HRSGs Work?
HRSGs are heat exchangers nestled between the steam turbine and gas turbine. They capture heat that gets released from the gas turbine to boost efficiency and reduce fuel costs. When combined with a selective catalyst reduction, HRSGs significantly reduce the number of nitrogen oxides released into the atmosphere.
HRSGs heat water-containing tubes to 650 degrees Celsius. This high heat turns water into steam that is collected and used as an energy source for steam turbines. There are three main modules within a heat recovery steam generator. They are the superheater, evaporator, and economizer. All three modules work together to capture excess energy during the power generation process by transforming water into steam fuel.
HRSGs are available and recommended for almost all chemical processing industries because they greatly enhance performance and reduce harmful emissions.
Control Combustible Dust With Extraction Systems
Not only do industrial combustion systems typically rely on natural gases, which new technologies are helping reduce, but many combustion systems can produce harmful combustible dust. Combustible dust is far different than dust that appears on windowsills and bookshelves in your home. In fact, combustible dust is a fine particle that can catch fire and explode when combined with specific air conditions. You can imagine how quickly a combustible dust accident could take a turn for the worst in a manufacturing plant.
Combustible dust explosions occur when five elements work together: oxygen, heat, fuel, dispersion, and confinement. In this equation, dust acts as the fuel, and dispersion refers to dust particles scattering in large quantities. Confinement means the event happens in an enclosed structure like a room, building, or piece of equipment.
If you use industrial combustion systems to produce any of the following materials, you must prioritize controlling combustible dust with dust extraction systems:
ENGLO dust extraction technology produces the highest recommended dust extraction products in the industry. These systems are designed to remove 99.7% of combustible dust particles from airstreams by encapsulating dust particles into atomized water. The following industries can significantly benefit from implementing combustible dust extraction systems:
- Coal-fired power plants
- Food production facilities
- Underground coal mining
- Chemical manufacturing
- Woodworking facilities
- Textile plants
- Metal processing plants
- Recycling facilities
Top Safety Tips for Industrial Combustion Systems
Now that you have an understanding of industrial combustion systems and the necessary technologies to improve efficiency and keep processing plants safe, let’s close with helpful tips for combustion system safety. Performing manual labor in the manufacturing industry will always come with risks, but accidents are greatly reduced when safety protocols are followed.
1. Clean Filters
Blocked or clogged filters can cause serious issues such as carbon build-up and system degradation. If filters are left unchecked for too long, they can cause a dangerous fire. Implement a regular cleaning schedule to replace filters.
2. Perform Safety Tests on Exhaust Systems
Each month, perform a combustion safety test on your exhaust systems. Along with this test, check and clean your equipment to keep it functional and safe.
3. Prioritize Education and Training
It is vital to implement thorough employee training and education requirements at your processing plant. All new employees should complete in-depth training upon being hired, and refresher courses should be implemented annually. Training must cover cleaning, maintenance, accident protocols, and system operations.
4. Check for Visible Signs of Wear
All employees should know the visible signs of damage on combustion systems. Details such as out-of-place burners, damaged door linings, and extreme furnace temperatures can be signs of unsafe conditions.
5. Test Pressure
People who work with industrial combustion systems should familiarize themselves with pressure, velocity, and flow. Check the function of these measurements regularly to detect malfunctions before they worsen.
6. Schedule Routine Maintenance
It is vital to schedule routine maintenance inspections for industrial combustion systems and keep records of the assessments. You can even hire a third party that specializes in industrial maintenance to give a second opinion.
7. Know the Ideal Flame Color
All workers should know what the flames should look like in various industrial equipment. A white or blue flame typically indicates lean-burn or excess air, which can be dangerous.
8. Utilize Cooling Fans
High heat can quickly occur in industrial settings. To reduce the risk of heat dangers in your facility, utilize cooling fans. These fans prevent workers and machines alike from overheating.
Discover the Most Efficient and Safe Combustion Systems for Your Industry
The power, industrial, and mining fields depend on efficient industrial combustion systems to operate. With powerful industrial equipment often comes gas emissions. To improve productivity and limit the greenhouse effect, utilize enclosed combustion equipment and heat recovery steam generators. Keep your employees safe by installing combustible dust extraction systems and implementing thorough safety protocols.
If you’re in need of new industrial combustion equipment, or if you want expert advice on the latest technologies, contact the representatives at Lindberg Process Equipment today!