The Importance of Combustion Control in an Industrial Setting

Combustion Control boiler all set up

Today, industrial facilities have to navigate a world of safety regulations, guidelines, and the need for efficiency and performance. We work with all components used in industrial settings from boiler repair to welding to mechanical repair or pressure piping. We understand the difficulty many industries face. In previous posts, we’ve discussed the history of combustion and the combustion engine before and how it plays a role in various industrial applications. In an industrial setting, combustion control is necessary to ensure optimal operation and safety, pollution control, and operation efficiency. 

Why Combustion Control is Necessary for Optimal Performance 

Newer industrial boilers are equipped with more sophisticated combustion control systems that allow for the regulation of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions monitoring. The Department of Energy has energy goals when it comes to various sectors and industries and their use of energy and environmental impact. According to some government estimates, over 45,000 industrial and commercial boilers are larger than 10MMBtu with a total fuel input capacity of 2.7 million MMBtu/hr. And according to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, boiler efficiency can be improved in three ways: 

  • Replacing with new boilers
  • Replacement of the burner 
  • Installing a combustion control system 

What Does a Newer Combustion Control System Do?

Burners are an essential component of many industrial applications. Gas and oil burners are responsible for powering package boilers, furnaces, and other heat processes. Newer combustion control systems and their respective gas sensors set the opening of fuel and air inlets. The system is constantly providing feedback and measurements of oxygen, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide concentrations. 

Improving Efficiency for Industrial Boilers 

Effective combustion control and monitoring systems will improve the overall efficiency of an industrial boiler. The idea is that combustion efficiency is achieved through a burner’s ability to burn fuel, as measured by unburned fuel and excess oxygen in the exhaust. These systems tend to be digitally controlled and are capable of monitoring a boiler system’s efficiency. These systems will also monitor boiler performance, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve fuel efficiency. 

As defined by the United States Department of Energy, Combustion efficiency is a measure of how effectively the heat content of a fuel is transferred into usable heat. Key indicators of combustion efficiency are the stack temperature and flue gas oxygen concentrations.

A Quick Example of Boiler Efficiency and Energy Usage 

As published by the U.S. Department of Energy, if a boiler operates for 8,000 hours per year and consumes about 500,000 million MMBtu of natural gas produces about 45,000 lb/hour of 150-PSIG steam. The stack gas measurements will be 44.9% with a flue gas air temperature of 400 degrees. From this equation, the combustion efficiency can be measured at 78.2%. Improving the efficiency that reduces the excess air even by 9.5% with a temperature of 300 degrees, the efficiency increases to 83.1% with annual fuel costs of about $235,856. The difference is substantial and why efficiency matters for energy use consumption.

The Stoichiometric Balance – Finding the Right Ratio 

Finding the right amount of air for the operation allows for the perfect balance that achieves optimal efficiency. A stoichiometric chemical equation is essentially balanced. The equation for combustion will usually involve Co2 and H2O from the reaction of another chemical and oxygen O2. Combustion conditions are never in perfect harmony, but any excess air must be used up to burn the fuel. This is called a stoichiometric amount of air. To ensure that the fuel will be used up, there is excess air. This air increases the amount of oxygen to the combustion. Stoichiometry involves using relationships between reactants or products in a chemical reaction to find precise results or data. 

The Benefits of Combustion Control Systems 

As combustion control systems become more commonplace and accessible, they are making it easier for industry levels to ensure that their systems are working at an optimal level. The main benefit of a combustion control system is the overall energy savings. The gain inefficiency is a result of a reduction of oxygen used. Other benefits include: 

  • Carbon monoxide monitoring checks for potentially unsafe or inefficient combustion does not happen 
  • Very low levels of oxygen in the exhaust flue gas improve efficiency 
  • Real-time data and boiler performance 
  • A control system that monitors gases and helps avoid accidents 
  • It prevents unsafe conditions from happening 

Get Combustion Control for Your Industrial Boiler or Application

When it comes to industrial boilers or equipment, Wyler Industrial has you covered. We offer combustion control services to help you achieve boiler efficiency and optimal performance. We ensure your equipment is working like it’s supposed to, not only for safety but for efficiency. 

Ready to see the efficiency potential of your boiler with combustion control? Call Wyler Industrial today and learn more. 


A Deep Dive Into Combustion Control and How It Emerged

Still of a room of large combustion boilers.

For most people, the word combustion is likely associated with the beloved internal combustion engine. This type of engine, of course, provides incredible durability and drivability and is quite relevant to about 250 million highway transportation vehicles that use this type of engine. In addition to gasoline and diesel, they can use renewable or alternative fuel. If you deal with or are involved with commercial and industrial boilers, however, you also understand the importance of combustion control systems in the industry. 

The Heart of the Car — Combustion Engines 

Where would modern American life be without the vehicle. After all, one of the things that set this country apart from most others, is our incredible highway systems and the love of the open road. Americans love their cars and the truth is that on a day-to-day basis most Americans might not give a second thought to the process that allows them to get to work or get home or go to the movies. The heart of the vehicle is, of course, the combustion engine.  Since the year 1680, ideas and early designs of the internal combustion engine began to emerge. And from the year 1680, there were several engineers and inventors involved in the continuous attempt to develop, improve, and further advance this system. Up until the early 1900s, all of the previous attempts at internal combustion helped inspire the design of automobiles. 

A Word About the Famous Benz and Ford

These are likely two familiar names to anyone that has ever driven a car. Well, before it was Mercedes-Benz, German mechanical engineer, Karl Benz, built the first practical automobile to be powered by an internal combustion engine and received the first patent for a gas-fueled car. Henry Ford also played an important role in what would become the development of cars and internal combustion engines that are efficient and produced in mass. He was, after all, the first one to begin the assembly line manufacturing process which means some of the first Ford vehicles were assembled in about 93 minutes. 

Combustion Engines Continue

Combustion is burning; it’s the basic chemical process that happens when you mix fuel and air mixture. Sometimes this process can produce emissions that have been deemed undesirable for the environment. Over the last couple of decades, research and innovation have helped manufacturers reduce harmful emissions of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter by more than 99%.

Today there are two types of internal combustion engines. One is the compression ignition diesel engine and the spark ignition gasoline engine. Most of these engines are what we refer to as four-stroke cycle engines, which requires four pistons to fire off before one cycle is completed. 

The Boiler Combustion System — The Use of Fuel/Air Ratio

The boiler combustion control system is designed to maintain a proper air-fuel mixture under varying conditions. This is often called FAR in the industry— standing for fuel/air ratio.   These control systems in natural gas or oil-fired industrial boilers use the links in the machines between the fuel control valve and air damper to adjust. Good combustion control helps minimize the overall air pollution. The combustion control system (CSS) is an important component of modern industrial boilers. 

According to the U.S Department of energy, there are more than 45,000 industrial and commercial boilers larger than 10 MMbtu/hr in the U.S. The twenty-first century is largely concerned with energy efficiency and the improvement of emissions systems.  There are several ways that the efficiency of boilers can be improved:

A good combustion control system gets continuous feedback and measures oxygen, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide concentrations and thus improves combustion efficiency while it maintains low carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.  A good system continually monitors the boiler performance. 

Large industrial facilities or commercial facilities are looking for the ability to adjust the fuel-to-air mixture in order to maximize efficiency while controlling emissions in order to comply with regulatory requirements. The Department of Energy encourages systems that help facilities improve their energy efficiency while reducing the release of harmful emissions into the environment. 

Effective combustion control systems have the potential to increase fuel savings by several percentage points. This gain in efficiency is due to the reduction of oxygen in the flue gas. Most systems will have a monitoring and data logging device that provides real-time feedback on the boiler performance. This allows for consistent assessment and measurement of savings and efficiency. Energy savings can be achieved in most facilities when equipped with well functioning equipment and a trusted boiler combustion control system. 

If your facility uses an industrial boiler, you want to ensure that you have an effective system that is working properly and functioning at its highest capacity without wasting energy. 

Get Boiler Service and Combustion Control Systems from Wyler Industrial

 Here at Wyler Industrial, we are boiler experts. Whether you are looking to install a new boiler, repair an old one, maybe replace the burner, or to install a combustion control system, we are here to do the job right.