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Oxy-fuel burner restores air-fuel regenerative furnaces to full production

By Chemical Engineering |

Air Products

Engineers at Air Products (Lehigh Valley, Pa.; www.airproducts.com) have commercialized an improved version of the company’s Cleanfire ThruPort oxy-fuel burner for avoiding downtime during repairs and extending the lifetime of air-fuel regenerative furnaces in glass-making plants.

The company’s original Cleanfire ThruPort burner was designed to introduce oxy-fuel combustion (using pure oxygen as the oxidant, rather than air) in air-fuel-fired regenerative glass-melting furnaces. The water-cooled ThruPort burners have a unique design (photo) in which two “nested” lances deliver oxy-fuel (top lance) and staged oxygen (bottom lance) with a mechanism to control the proportion of oxygen between the two.

“By separating (staging) a portion of the oxygen away from the main oxy-fuel flame, we can control the rate of mixing between fuel and oxygen in the flame,” says Mark D’Agostini, senior research associate at Air Products. “This leads to flame lengths that can be optimally tailored to the width of the furnace combustion space, and is also a mechanism for reducing NOx emissions.”

The recently commercialized ThruPorte version has design improvements that include a means of adjusting the trajectory of the flame relative to the glass surface and optimal wireless diagnostic sensors that provide realtime status of key burner operating variables, such as oxygen and fuel pressures, burner metal temperature, cooling water flowrate and temperature, and proportion of oxygen delivered to the second (staging) lance.

The ability of the ThruPorte burner to tailor the flame length and trajectory, remotely monitor key burner performance variables, and be installed rapidly during furnace operation enables glass manufacturers to avoid downtime during repairs and extend the life of aging furnaces. A version of the burner was recently installed at two North American float-glass plants. Air Products reports restoration of full function and improved energy efficiency in both cases.

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