Washington Patent of the Month – July 2021

NOx is a pollutant regulated by the EPA with strict regulation in several regions across the country. NOx is a key metric of burner performance which means industry groups must anticipate the limits set out by the EPA and ensure they adjust their production to meet these NOx limitations. For instance, some combustion system manufacturers have successfully developed systems that can achieve the NOx targets. Unfortunately, this requires tradeoffs that impose high costs to energy efficiency and so on. ClearSign Combustion Corp. has designed a porous flame holder for low NOx combustion to try and overcome some of these limitations.

Their design has proven to create a 95% reduction in NOx emissions. The porous flame holder can operate in a furnace at a temperature of 1600 F with O2 concentrations of 2.5% – 3.2%. The burner also has a flame length reduced by 80%. Other attempts at low-NOx burners use an increased flame length and reduced momentum to reduce NOx but results in combustion reaction impingement. The design uses gas passages to maintain a stable reaction even at fuel mixtures below a lean flammability limit. The lowered combustion NOx includes outputting fuel and oxidant to a burner, allowing time for the mixture to evolve to a better-mixed state and then combusts the mixture inside a porous flame holder. These energy efficient solutions can help refine the industry, creating more efficient and cost effective solutions.

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