Combustion and Burner Technologies

Cont­act per­son: Dr.-Ing. Nico Schmitz


Fields of activities

Com­bus­ti­on tech­no­lo­gy and ener­gy effi­ci­en­cy, hydro­gen, fla­me­l­ess com­bus­ti­on, flow and com­bus­ti­on simu­la­ti­on, pro­cess gas and off-gas analysis

EAF-Burner H2-Oxyfuel

Areas of research

Low-carbon fuels

The core acti­vi­ties in this area are the rese­arch and deve­lo­p­ment of tech­no­lo­gies and pro­ces­ses for the use of low-CO2 fuels such as hydro­gen in ther­mopro­ces­sing plants. We aim to sup­port and dri­ve deve­lo­p­ment ran­ging from con­cep­ti­on, nume­ri­cal simu­la­ti­on, and expe­ri­men­tal stu­dies on a pilot sca­le to imple­men­ta­ti­on and demons­tra­ti­on in indus­tri­al plants.

For this pur­po­se, various test fur­naces for bur­ners are available (max. bur­ner capa­ci­ty approx. 250 kW). The­se can be sup­pli­ed with high calo­ri­fic natu­ral gas, hydro­gen and any mix­tures of other cylin­der gases (N2, CO2, CO, CH4, C3H8, NH3, O2) via a ver­sa­ti­le gas mixing infra­struc­tu­re. In addi­ti­on, a powerful in-house com­pu­ta­tio­nal infra­struc­tu­re is available to car­ry out CFD simu­la­ti­ons and model­ling acti­vi­ties, sup­ple­men­ted by a con­nec­tion to the RWTH Com­pu­te Clus­ter for even the most com­plex nume­ri­cal models.

Exten­si­ve inves­ti­ga­ti­ons are car­ri­ed out in the test fur­naces, inclu­ding flow and tem­pe­ra­tu­re mea­su­re­ments (con­ven­tio­nal, non-cont­act, suc­tion pyro­me­ter). Addi­tio­nal­ly, pro­cess gas/off-gas ana­ly­sis and fla­me cha­rac­te­riza­ti­on by means of OH* spec­tro­sco­py are available. In many cases, the mea­su­re­ments also ser­ve to vali­da­te the nume­ri­cal models built up in-house, enhan­cing con­fi­dence in simu­la­ti­ons for sca­le-up applications.

Ultra-low NOx combustion technology

Low NOx com­bus­ti­on pro­ces­ses have been inves­ti­ga­ted at IOB for many years. The focus lies on exten­ding the appli­ca­ti­on limits of fla­me­l­ess com­bus­ti­on (FLOX) for small and lar­ge bur­ner capa­ci­ties and new fuels. The deve­lo­p­ment of mul­ti-stage fla­me­l­ess oxi­da­ti­on (FLOX‑2) is an inno­va­ti­ve exten­si­on of this field of work.

This is enab­led by the use of a par­ti­cu­lar­ly accu­ra­te pro­cess gas ana­ly­sis sys­tem, which has been opti­mi­zed from sam­pling to ana­ly­sis for lowest NOx con­cen­tra­ti­ons. Our group has many years of expe­ri­ence car­ry­ing out com­plex mea­su­re­ment tasks in pilot plants and indus­tri­al environments.

Energy-efficient heating technologies

Incre­asing the ener­gy and resour­ce effi­ci­en­cy of ther­mal pro­ces­ses is one of the department’s most fun­da­men­tal task. In indus­tri­al com­bus­ti­on, spe­cial com­bus­ti­on pro­ces­ses such as direct fla­me impinge­ment (DFI) and com­bus­ti­on with pure oxy­gen (oxy­fuel com­bus­ti­on) can be used to increase the effi­ci­en­cy of exis­ting pro­ces­ses. Pre­ser­ving the inte­gri­ty of the over­all pro­cess is always prio­ri­ti­zed with any pro­ject exe­cu­ted in this area.

Radiant tube technology

Indi­rect hea­ting of indus­tri­al fur­naces with radi­ant tubes is wide­ly used in down­stream pro­ces­sing of semi-finis­hed pro­ducts. The main work focus in this area lies on incre­asing the ser­vice life of metal­lic radi­ant tubes, which are sub­ject to high creep defor­ma­ti­on due to ther­mal­ly indu­ced stres­ses and chan­ges in the ther­mal load. Fur­ther­mo­re, new radi­ant tube designs and con­cepts are curr­ent­ly being deve­lo­ped, tes­ted and opti­mi­zed for low pol­lutant emissions.

Seve­ral test rigs are available in our labo­ra­to­ry to inves­ti­ga­te various radi­ant tube designs in short- and long-term tests. The inves­ti­ga­ti­ons are com­ple­men­ted by cou­pled nume­ri­cal simu­la­ti­on models, to cal­cu­la­te mate­ri­al stres­ses and defor­ma­ti­ons over the enti­re radi­ant tube life time. This is done by com­bi­ning models for heat trans­fer and struc­tu­ral mecha­nics. Exis­ting cal­cu­la­ti­on approa­ches are con­ti­nuous­ly being deve­lo­ped and optimized.

Research projects

Ongoing research projects

Completed research projects

  • H2RadiantTube — Hydro­gen from rene­wa­ble ener­gies as fuel in the radi­ant tube (progres.NRW Research)
  • Deve­lo­p­ment of a novel, fle­xi­ble machi­ning pro­cess for the pro­duc­tion of quartz glass com­pon­ents (AiF ZIM)
  • Tail­o­red Hea­ting in Hot Forming (AiF IGF)
  • Deve­lo­p­ment of inno­va­ti­ve rege­ne­ra­tively hea­ted radi­ant tubes for use in heat tre­at­ment fur­naces with small instal­la­ti­on space (AiF ZIM)
  • Deve­lo­p­ment of a recup­er­a­tor for hybrid com­bus­ti­on air pre­hea­ting in indus­tri­al fur­naces (AiF ZIM)
  • Influence of ther­mal load chan­ges on the ser­vice life of high­ly loa­ded fur­nace com­pon­ents made of metal­lic high-tem­pe­ra­tu­re mate­ri­als (AiF IGF)
  • Deve­lo­p­ment of an ener­gy-effi­ci­ent bur­ner for heat tre­at­ment plants with a low-oxi­dising pro­tec­ti­ve gas atmo­sphe­re (AiF ZIM)
  • Exten­si­on of the appli­ca­ti­on limits of FLOX tech­no­lo­gy for small and lar­ge bur­ner capa­ci­ties (BMWi)
  • Increase of life­time of metal­lic recir­cu­la­ting radi­ant tubes for indus­tri­al fur­naces by reduc­tion of ther­mal stres­ses (AiF IGF)
  • Pro­cess deve­lo­p­ment for low-sca­le rehea­ting of semi-finis­hed metal pro­ducts (AiF IGF)
  • Incre­asing the ser­vice life of metal­lic com­pon­ents in indus­tri­al fur­nace con­s­truc­tion (AiF IGF)