Advantages of Measuring Oxygen, Combustibles, and Methane in Combustion Processes.

Written by Stuart Simmonds 
VP Business Development

Feb 5, 2024

This article emphasizes the crucial role of measuring residual oxygen in post-combustion gases for efficient and safe combustion processes. It explains that the presence of excess oxygen post-combustion is a key indicator of complete fuel combustion, suggesting a safe and successful combustion cycle. The article then discusses the importance of monitoring partially combusted hydrocarbons, or 'combustibles,' to fully understand and optimize the combustion process's efficiency and ensure safety within the boiler management system. Additionally, it highlights the necessity of detecting unburnt hydrocarbons, like methane, primarily for safety reasons to prevent risks of explosions or fires from uncombusted fuel bypassing the combustion zone. The piece concludes by underscoring that continuous monitoring of these three gas components is essential for maintaining the combustion process's efficiency and safety.

What you’ll learn: 

  1. The importance of oxygen measurement for ensuring complete combustion.
  2. How measuring combustibles contributes to the efficiency control of combustion processes.
  3. The role of unburnt hydrocarbon (methane) measurement in maintaining safety.
  4. The relationship between these measurements and the minimization of emissions and excess air.
  5. The integration of these measurements in Safety Integrated Shutdown Systems (SIS) for enhanced operational safety.

Maximizing Efficiency and Safety in Combustion Processes.

Measuring residual oxygen, combustibles, and unburnt hydrocarbons like methane is critical in maximizing efficiency and ensuring safety in combustion processes. These measurements offer a comprehensive insight into the process’s combustion efficiency, safety, and environmental impact.

Struggling with emissions? Learn how managing excess oxygen and combustibles can streamline your process, making it both greener and more efficient.

Oxygen Measurement: Ensuring Complete Combustion.

Oxygen measurement is a primary indicator of complete combustion. A residual amount of oxygen in the post-combustion phase indicates that sufficient oxygen was present to burn all the combustible matter. This ensures the successful completion of the combustion process and signifies operational safety. An excess of oxygen, while indicating complete combustion, does not necessarily reflect the efficiency of the process.

Measuring Combustibles for Process Efficiency.

Measuring partially combusted hydrocarbons, or ‘combustibles’, provides deeper insight into the combustion process’s efficiency. By analyzing the level of combustibles, operators can fine-tune the combustion control, optimizing fuel use and reducing waste. This measurement is crucial in boiler safety management systems or safety-integrated shutdown systems, ensuring no uncombusted gases are in the post-combustion zone.

Discover the hidden impacts of unburnt hydrocarbons in your combustion process. Learn the strategies for effective mitigation and risk management.

Unburnt Hydrocarbon Measurement for Safety.

Monitoring unburnt hydrocarbons, calibrated as methane, is primarily a safety measure. In certain conditions, pockets of un-combusted fuel can escape the combustion zone, posing significant risks of explosions or fires. By detecting these hydrocarbons in the post-combustion gases, operators can initiate safe shutdown procedures, thereby mitigating potential hazards.

Minimizing Emissions and Excess Air.

Collectively, the measurement and control of both the excess oxygen and partially burnt combustibles will contribute to minimizing emissions and excess air. By optimizing the combustion process through precise control and monitoring, it is possible to reduce the release of harmful emissions and ensure the efficient use of air and fuel. This not only enhances efficiency but also supports environmental sustainability.

Are you maximizing the potential of your SIS in combustion operations? Discover how integrating essential measurements can redefine your safety protocols.

Safety Integrated Shutdown Systems (SIS).

Integrating oxygen, combustibles, and methane measurements into Safety Integrated Shutdown Systems (SIS) enhances the overall safety of combustion processes. These systems use the data from these measurements to make informed decisions about the operational status of the combustion system, initiating shutdowns when necessary to prevent accidents.


The continuous measurement of oxygen, combustibles, and methane is integral to maintaining an efficient, safe, and environmentally responsible combustion process. By understanding and controlling these key parameters, operators can optimize combustion efficiency, reduce emissions, and ensure operational safety, making these measurements indispensable in modern industrial combustion systems.

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Written by Stuart Simmonds 
VP Business Development
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