Novatech- Combustion Control - Industrial Efficiency

Mastering Combustion Control: Essential Strategies for Industrial Efficiency.

Written by Stuart Simmonds 
VP Business Development

April 2, 2024

In the complex arena of industrial operations, getting combustion control right is key to unlocking top-notch efficiency. This guide dives into the factors determining how well combustion processes work in different industrial environments. It emphasizes the importance of carefully checking the gases produced after combustion, which plays a significant role depending on the specific conditions at each site.

Essential Factors Influencing Combustion Efficiency:


  • Mechanical Dynamics: The architecture of the furnace—encompassing type, dimensions, age, and the choice of fuel—stands at the forefront of efficiency considerations. Transitioning to cleaner energy sources, such as natural gas, is highlighted as a pathway to achieving marked improvements in combustion efficiency, starkly contrasting with the traditional reliance on coal or oil.
  • Operational State: The efficiency narrative extends to the operational status of the furnace, distinguishing between high throughput scenarios and those of reduced activity (turndown conditions), each presenting unique challenges and opportunities for optimization.
  • Aging Infrastructure: The article also sheds light on the implications of plant aging. This factor often precipitates tramp air problems through leaks, thereby compromising the facility’s command over air and fuel intake mechanisms.
  • Advanced Control Systems: Furthermore, the exploration encompasses the strategic implementation of control technologies, such as Boiler Management Systems (BMS) and Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS), underscoring their integral role in propelling efficiency forward.

This comprehensive analysis underscores the complex interplay of factors shaping combustion control efficiency in industrial plants. It affirms that understanding and addressing these variables is crucial for elevating operational performance and achieving sustainable efficiency milestones.

Diverse Combustion Heater Architectures.

The landscape of combustion process heaters is rich with variety, each configuration bringing its distinct operational flavour. From the direct-fired models to those specializing in radiant and convective heat transfer, selecting a heater profoundly influences combustion efficiency. Critical factors such as heat transfer efficiency, temperature regulation, and fuel compatibility are instrumental in dictating the heater’s performance.

Maximize your efficiency and sustainability by making informed decisions on heater technologies and fuel types. Ready to take the next step?

Fuel Type: A Key Efficiency Variable.

The choice of fuel emerges as a pivotal determinant of combustion efficiency. With its superior calorific value and cleaner combustion, natural gas typically outperforms coal or oil in efficiency metrics. However, the combustion outcome can also fluctuate based on fuel purity and calorific variability, impacting both performance and emissions.

Mitigating Flame Impingement Risks.

Flame impingement presents a notable hazard, as direct flame contact with process tubes or containment walls can induce overheating, structural damage, and diminished efficiency. Beyond escalating maintenance costs, this condition poses substantial safety risks. Ensuring optimal burner alignment and flame geometry is crucial for averting impingement and upholding combustion efficiency.

Worried about operational safety and efficiency due to flame impingement and suboptimal draft and oxygen levels? Learn how to turn these challenges into your advantage.

Overcoming Draft and Oxygen Balance Challenges.

Achieving an ideal draft and oxygen balance is essential for flawless combustion. Poor draft can lead to uneven combustion, whereas improper oxygen tuning might result in energy wastage through excess air or incomplete combustion due to oxygen scarcity. Constant vigilance and adjustments to the air-to-fuel ratio are indispensable for maintaining optimal combustion conditions.

Counteracting Tramp Air Intrusion.

Unintended air infiltration, or tramp air, significantly undermines combustion efficiency by diluting combustion gases, thereby reducing flame temperature and completeness of combustion. Addressing this challenge necessitates routine maintenance to identify and rectify leaks, especially in older facilities where seals may have deteriorated.

Facing inefficiency due to tramp air intrusion and insufficient air supply to burners? Discover how sealing leaks and optimizing air flow can transform your operational performance.

Ensuring Adequate Air Supply to Burners.

When burners are deprived of sufficient air, the combustion process becomes inefficient and potentially hazardous. Maintaining and calibrating air supply systems, including fans, ducts, and controls, is critical to prevent air starvation to burners, ensuring safe and efficient operation.

Addressing Overheating and Sagging of Process Tubes.

Excessive temperatures or uneven heating, indicative of overheating or sagging process tubes, can compromise heat transfer efficiency and risk tube failure. Proactive inspection and thermal monitoring are vital for early detection and remediation of such issues, safeguarding the combustion process’s integrity.

Frustrated by the limitations of your current combustion control systems? Discover how upgrading to advanced BMS, SIS, and SIL can revolutionize your operational efficiency, safety, and control capabilities.

Enhancing Control with BMS, SIS, and SIL.

The integration of advanced control systems such as Boiler Management Systems (BMS), Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS), and Safety Integrated Levels (SIL) substantially uplifts combustion control capabilities. These systems offer advanced monitoring and control features that optimize efficiency and ensure adherence to stringent safety standards, especially in complex combustion scenarios.

Conclusion: Embracing a Comprehensive Approach to Combustion Control.

Mastering combustion control necessitates a holistic understanding of the process’s intricacies and the implementation of tailored best practices suited to specific operational conditions. Industries can unlock substantial efficiency improvements while maintaining the highest safety standards by tackling the challenges of fuel variability and air management. Continuous monitoring, diligent maintenance, and leveraging advanced control systems are paramount in navigating the complexities of combustion control, fostering a more efficient, safe, and sustainable industrial ecosystem.

Didn’t catch our live webinar on Combustion Efficiency? 

It’s not too late to unlock the secrets! Get in touch now for exclusive access to the recording.

Be the first to read our articles


Written by Stuart Simmonds 
VP Business Development
Write to me at:

Scroll to Top