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Control the fuel-to-air ratio in combustion with varying fuels

By Dorothy Lozowski |

In combustion, the ratio of fuel to air is key to efficiency, emissions control and stable performance of the combustion system. Adjusting this ratio to accommodate variability in fuels — due to the use of different fuels, and the variability that naturally occurs with some of the lower-cost fuels and renewable fuel sources — is a difficult task. Emerson Process Management (St. Louis, Mo.; www.emersonprocess.com) has introduced a technology, called True BTU, which is a patent-pending innovation for calculating the actual Btu values of fuel sources to make energy production predictable and repeatable. At the company’s Global Users Exchange in late October, Chip Rennie, director of Industrial Energy for Emerson, called True BTU combustion control a “game changer.” He further said that this platform “reinvents the current model of combustion management, which has been around since the 1920s and is still in practice today.” To compensate for the variability in fuels, excess air is typically used in combustion systems. This means that most of the time the fuel-to-air ratio is not ideal. With True BTU, the change in O2 level in the outgoing gas stream is measured, and using a stoichiometric equation…
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