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# Process Heating: Combustion Efficiency

Fundamentals of Combustion
During the combustion of fossil fuels, hydrocarbon molecules such as methane, CH4, are
combined with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water in an exothermic reaction.
The simplified combustion equation for the combustion of natural gas is:

## CH4 + 2O2  CO2 + 2H20

The ratio of the mass of combustion air, mca, to the mass of natural gas, mng, is called the
air fuel ratio, AF. Using the simplified combustion equation above, the air fuel ratio for
stochiometric (complete) combustion, AFs, can calculated to be about:

## AFs = (mca/mng)stoch = 17.2

In practice, incomplete mixing of air and natural gas requires that “excess air”, EA, be
supplied. Excess air is defined as:

EA = mca,actual / mca,stoch - 1

If the supply of combustion air is insufficient to combust all of the fuel, then
uncombusted fuel will go up the stack reducing the combustion efficiency and increasing
hydrocarbon emissions that cause smog. Too much air reduces the combustion
temperature and the combustion efficiency. For most applications, exhaust gas oxygen
levels of about 2% and corresponding excess air levels of about 10% are optimum. North
American burner recommends about 20% excess air (“Low Emissions Gas Burner”,
Bulletin 4452, North American Manufacturing Company, March, 2005). However, some
drying or solvent evaporation applications may require higher levels of excess air. The
actual air/fuel ratio, AF, can be written as:

AF = (1+EA) x AFs

From an energy balance on the combustion process, the combustion temperature, Tc, can
be calculated as:

## Tc = Tca + hr / [cpp x {1 + (1+EA) x AFs]

where cpp is the specific heat of products of combustion, Tca is the temperature of the
combustion air before entering the burner and hr is the heat of reaction of the fuel.

The heat of reaction, hr, is the useful heat transferred from the combustion chamber
during the combustion reaction. The heat of reaction depends on the phase of the water
in the exhaust gasses. If water leaves as a vapor, it carries away the heat required to
vaporize the water and less useful heat is available for the process. In this case, the heat

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of reaction equals the lower heating value (LHV) of the fuel. If water leaves as a liquid,
more useful heat is available to the process and the heat of reaction equals the higher
heating value (HHV) of the fuel. The heating values of natural gas are shown below:

## LHVng = 21,500 Btu/lbng HHVng = 23,900 Btu/lbng

The dew point temperature of water in exhaust gas is about 140 F. Because most exhaust
gas streams are above this temperature, the heat of reaction is generally the lower heating
value of the fuel.

The steady-state efficiency of combustion is the ratio of the useful heat delivered to the
process to the heat content of the fuel. Using the preceding equations, the combustion
efficiency is:

## Eff = [{1 + (AF)} x cpp x (Tc-Tex)] / HHV

Eff = [{1 + (1+EA) x (AFs)} x cpp x (Tc-Tex)] / HHV

Thus, the combustion efficiency can be determined as a function of only three variables
that must be measured: excess air, EA, the temperature of the combustion air before it
enters the burner, Tca, and the temperature of the exhaust gasses, Tex. These variables
are measured by combustion analyzers. Excess air, EA, is determined by the ratio of O2
and CO2 (or CO) in the exhaust gas.

The equations to determine combustion efficiency can be entered into a spreadsheet. The

CombEff.XLS

Input Data
EA = excess air (0=stoch, 0.1 = optimum) 0.50
Tca = temperature combustion air before burner (F) 70
Tex = temperature exhaust gasses (F) 350

## Constants for Natural Gas

LHV = lower heating value (Btu/lb) 21,500
HHV = higher heating value (Btu/lb) 23,900
cpp = specific heat of products of exhaust (Btu/lb-F) 0.260
Tdpp = dew point temp of H20 in exhaust (F) 140
Afs = air/fuel mass ratio at stochiometric conditions 17.20

## Combustion Efficiency Calculations

hr = heat of reaction = (if Tex<140 then hr=HHV else hr = LHV) 21,500
Tc = temp combustion (F) = Tca+hr/[(1+(1+EA)(Afs))cpp] 3,156
Efficiency = [1 + (1+EA)(AFs)]*cpp*(Tc-Tex)/HHV 81.8%

## The percent fuel savings from improving combustion efficiency is:

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Percent fuel savings = (Effdesired – Effactual) / Effdesired x 100

## In engineering practice, the combustion efficiency is sometimes called “available heat”.

A chart showing natural gas combustion efficiency (available heat) as a function of
exhaust gas temperature and excess air is shown below.

Source: Process Heat Tip Sheet #2, U.S. Department of Energy, DOE/GO-102002-1552.

Fuels

## HHV LHV Stoichiometric

Fuel Air Ratio
Methane CH4 17.2
Natural gas .65CH4 +.08H2
+ .18 N2 + .
03O2+.6CO2
Acetylene C2H2
Ethylene C2H4
Ethane C2H6
Propylene C3H6
Propane C3H8
Butane C4H10
Octane C8H18
(Gasoline)
Diesel C12H26
Coal .82C + .05H20 12.25
+ .02H2+.01O2

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As demonstrated in the preceding discussion, combustion efficiency is a function of the
temperature of the exhaust gas and the quantity of excess combustion air. When
combustion burners are modulated to less than full load, these variables often change
from their full-load values and the combustion efficiency can increase or decrease
accordingly.

In many cases, the temperature of exhaust gasses decreases when the burners are at low-
fire because the residency time of exhaust gasses in the heat exchanger increases. If a
proper air/fuel ratio is maintained at low fire, combustion efficiency can increase as
demonstrated in the following case study.

The boiler has an oxygen sensor on the flue stack, which regulates the air/fuel ratio to maximize boiler
efficiency. Despite this control feature, the temperature of flue gas was about 600 F. This is unusually
high; normal stack temperatures are about 400 F. After discussions with management, we concluded that
the reason for the elevated stack temperatures must be insufficient heat transfer area inside the boiler.
Management agreed with this assessment. During our visit we measured the temperature of the exhaust in
the flue stack, Ts, and the boiler efficiency, E, at different pressures and loading levels. The readings are
shown in the following Table 6.1.

Table 6.1. Measured stack temperatures, Ts, and efficiency, E, of the fire-tube boiler.
Boiler Pressure High Fire Medium Fire Low Fire
100 psig Ts=620 F; E = 75.6% Ts=550 F; E=76.0% Ts = 400 F; E=78.8 %
70 psig Ts = 380 F; E=84.0 %

Similarly, for boilers with step or modulation control, combustion efficiency generally
improves when the boiler is operated at part load because the ratio of heat exchanger
surface area to heat input increases. A typical curve showing combustion efficiency as a
function of part-load ratio is shown below (ASHRAE 2000, HVAC Systems and
Equipment Handbook, Pg 27.6). A curve fit gives the following relation:

## Effpl = Efffl + .055/.75 (1-PLR)

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(Source: ASHRAE 2000, HVAC Systems and Equipment Handbook, Pg 27.6)

However, combustion efficiency can also decline at part load if the quantity of
combustion air is not decreased proportionately with the quantity of fuel. Check the
burner to determine the type of part-load combustion air control. In some older burners,
the quantity of combustion air is not decreased at part-load conditions. These burners are
excellent candidates for updated combustion air controls. Other burners have a
mechanical arm that varies the position of a damper on the combustion air supply duct
according to the position of the inlet fuel valve. Although mechanical controls can do an
acceptable job of varying the supply of combustion air, the best controls use flue gas
sensors and direct digital controls to precisely modulate the quantity of combustion air to
maintain optimum efficiency.

## Linkage and O2 Trim Combustion Controls

The fuel-to-air ratio in most boilers is controlled by a mechanical linkage which attempts
to maintain a constant fuel-to-air ratio across the entire firing range. Unfortunately,
mechanical linkages are seldom able to do this. We regularly measure different fuel-to-
air ratios at low, medium and high fire. In these cases, we recommend that the linkage be
adjusted to generate 10% excess air at one firing rate, and greater than 10% excess air at
the other firing rates.

10% excess air can be maintained across all firing rates by installing independent digital
controls on the combustion air and gas supply lines, which are controlled to maintain
10% excess air. This type of control is sometimes called “oxygen trim” or “O2 trim”.
The following costs were supplied by Jim Turton at Ballanger Company (513) 271-3915,
which is a local supplier of Cleaver Brooks boilers. O2 trim controls cost between
\$12,000 and \$15,000. To retrofit an existing boiler with O2 trim controls, about 2 days

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labor would be required at about \$750 per day; for a total of about \$1,500 in labor costs.
In addition, the controls need to be checked and calibrated every few months and each
calibration takes a couple of hours. Thus, if an O2 trim package is calibrated 3-4 times
per year, and each calibration takes about 2-3 hours, the maintenance and calibration

Oxygen Enhancement
When atmospheric air is used in combustion, the nitrogen in the air is largely inert.
However, this does not mean that it has no effect on combustion. The energy released
during the combustion reaction is absorbed by the products of combustion. The nitrogen
in the products of combustion absorbs a portion of the heat of combustion and lowers the
adiabatic combustion temperature. The reduced combustion temperature reduces the
efficiency of combustion.

Burning pure oxygen instead of atmospheric air eliminates the dilutive effects of
nitrogen. This increases the combustion temperature and the efficiency of combustion.
Using the method developed earlier, the air to fuel ratio for stochiometric combustion of
methane with oxygen combustion is:

## Mair / Mfuel = (2 x 2 x 16) / (12 + 4) = 4.0

This value can be used in conjunction with the previous simplified equations for
combustion temperature and efficiency of combustion with oxygen. Combustion
efficiencies calculated using the simplified method compare well with values from the
graph below. The primary reason for the small discrepancies between the simplified
method and the graph shown below is that the simplified method is based on combustion
of pure methane while the graph below is for natural gas, which includes a small
percentage of other hydrocarbons in addition to methane.

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Pollution Control
Primary air pollutants include VOCs, NOx and SOx.

When fuel is burned with insufficient oxygen, unburned hydrocarbons are carried out in
the exhaust. Visually, unburned hydrocarbons appear as smoke or sooty exhaust. When
unburned hydrocarbons collect in an exhaust stack, they become a serious fire hazard.

## Primary indicators of unburned hydrocarbons are CO and H2, which increase

exponentially with insufficient oxygen. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are another
class of carbon compounds released during incomplete combustion. VOCs and O3
(Ozone) react with sunlight to cause visual smog which is also a health hazard.

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Nitrous oxides (NOx) are created when the nitrogen in air reacts with oxygen at high
temperatures. The quantity of NOx produced increases with temperature (see figure
below). Thus, a drawback to preheating combustion air is increased NOx formation.

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Source: Combustion Fundamentals, Klassen, 2003 Gas Machinery Research Council.

Low NOx burners can reduce NOx formation. In addition, flue gas recirculation, in
which flue gas is injected into the combustion process to preheat the air and fuel can also
substantially reduce NOx formation (A Novel Method of Waste Heat Recovery from
High Temperature Furnaces, Arvind Atreya, Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Michigan, ACEEE Industrial Energy Efficiency, 2007)

Sulfur oxides (SOx) are created when the sulfur in fuel reacts with oxygen. SOx reacts in
the atmosphere with water to form sulfuric acid and is a principle component of “acid
rain”. The quantity of SOx created is largely a function of the sulfur content of the fuel.
Coal has relatively high levels sulfur, while natural gas has virtually none.

## How To Look At A Flame And Know If It’s Right

(Source: CEC Combustion Services jpivarski@combustionsafety.com)

Looking at a flame and understanding what’s going on is more an art than a science.
There are however a few basic rules of thumb that can help you to know what’s going on.
When you look at a flame you generally need to be looking at a flame moving towards
you. It’s not a guarantee that you will even have a site port that will allow you to do this.

If you find such a port, first wave your hand around it to make sure there’s no flue gas
leakage. Then with a gloved hand you push on the glass a little to make sure it does not
break easily. Then with safety glasses on and a long sleeved shirt, go ahead and look.
You’ll be looking for a few basic things like color.

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For stoichiometric (Perfect) combustion, you’ll want to see a nice rich blue with little
orange or yellow tips. If you see a very pale blue, and if it’s noisy and appears to have a
lot of energy and sharp edges, it’s probably too lean of a mixture. If the flame is fat, lazy
and bright yellow or orange you’re way too rich.

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Example Recommendations

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AR X: Specify O2 Trim Controls on New Boilers
Annual Savings Project Cost Simple
ARC: 2.1233.1
Resource CO2 (lb) Dollars Capital Other Total Payback
Natural Gas 3,387 mmBtu 433,600 \$32,384 \$28,000 None \$28,000 10 months

Analysis
The plant’s existing boilers use linkages that connect natural gas supply valves with
combustion air inlet dampers. In such a configuration, combustion air intake is
controlled based on natural gas input to the boilers. The following table and graph shows
the exhaust gas temperature, excess air, and combustion efficiency of Boiler #2, which is
a 100-hp boiler, at different firing rates. Air/fuel ratio is not constant over the firing
range, but rather increases as firing rate decreases.

## High Fire Performance Medium Fire Performance Low Fire Performance

Exhst. Excess Comb. Exhst. Excess Comb. Exhst. Excess Comb.
Temp Air Eff. Temp Air Eff. Temp Air Eff.
457 F 45% 79.3% 412 F 54% 80.0% 394 F 88% 78.6%

## Low Medium High

The optimal excess combustion air in a gas heating system for energy efficiency and
pollution prevention is about 10% (“Guide to Industrial Assessments for Pollution
Prevention and Energy Efficiency”, EPA/625/R-99/003), which yields an O 2 content of
1.7% in the exhaust gasses. Higher levels of excess air dilute the combustion stream and
decrease the quantity of useful heat available to the process.

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An emerging technology in fuel-fired energy systems is O2 trim combustion controls,
which controls combustion intake air based on air/fuel ratio of combustion. Such a
system consists of a gas monitoring probe inserted in the exhaust stack, measuring real-
time oxygen content of exhaust gasses. The probe is linked to a control that
automatically opens or closes the combustion air inlet damper to maintain a desired
excess air level at all times. The desired excess air level, or O2 content, can be digitally
programmed into the control system.

Management is considering replacing the existing six 100-hp boilers with two 300-hp
boilers. If done, specifying an O2 trim on the boilers would be very economical.
Although an O2 trim specification would increase the cost of the new system, the energy
cost savings over the life of the system would be magnitudes higher than the additional
upfront cost. Efficiency measures such as an O2 trim are most economical when
implemented at the construction stage of a project.

Recommendation
We recommend specifying an O2 trim on the two new 300-hp boilers, if installed. We
recommend programming the O2 trim to maintain 10% excess air, which yields an O2
content of 1.7% in the exhaust gasses.

Estimated Savings
In the Steam System Analysis section of the report, we calculated that the plant’s boilers
operate at about 53% of full-fire on average. According to the plant’s boiler technician,
Boiler #2 performs very similarly to the other five 100-hp boilers. Thus, we assume that
each 100-hp boiler, on average, operates at about 54% excess air with a stack temperature
of about 412 F, which is how Boiler #2 operates at medium fire. This yields a
combustion efficiency of 80.0%.

To find the efficiency improvement from reducing excess air from 54% to 10%, we used
the simulation software program HeatSim (Kissock and Carpenter, 2005), which can be
models a boiler as a heat exchanger and uses fundamental combustion equations and heat
exchanger equations to find the change in heat transfer and efficiency from reducing
boiler excess air.

The combined rated heat input to the plant’s six 100-hp (4.2 mmBtu/hour) boilers is:

## 4.2 mmBtu/hour-boiler x 6 boilers = 25.2 mmBtu/hour

The HeatSim output screen below shows the efficiency improvement and energy savings
from operating the same steam heat load at 10% excess air instead of 54% excess air.
The input values are either defined earlier in this AR or in the Steam System Analysis
section of the report.

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According to HeatSim, the efficiency of the boilers would rise from 80.0% to 82.7%, and
fuel savings would be about 0.438 mmBtu per hour. Annual natural gas savings would be

## 0.438 mmBtu/hour x 8,760 hours/year = 3,837 mmBtu/year

3,837 mmBtu/year x \$8.44 /mmBtu = \$32,384 /year

## Estimated Implementation Cost

According to the plant’s boiler provider, the additional cost of including an O2 trim on a
new boiler is about \$14,000 per boiler. The additional cost for two boilers would be

## Estimated Simple Payback

(\$28,000 / \$32,384 /year) x 12 months/year = 10 months

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AR X: Adjust 250-hp Boiler’s Burner to 10% Excess Air at High Fire
Annual Savings Project Cost Simple
ARC: 2.1233.1
Resource CO2 (lb) Dollars Capital Other Total Payback
Natural Gas 841 mmBtu 95,000 \$7,098 None None None Immediate

Analysis
The plant’s existing boilers use linkages that connect natural gas supply valves with
combustion air inlet dampers. In such a configuration, combustion air intake is
controlled based on natural gas input to the boilers. The following table and graph shows
the exhaust gas temperature, excess air, and combustion efficiency of the plant’s 250-hp
boiler at different firing rates. Air/fuel ratio is not constant over the firing range, but
rather increases as firing rate decreases.

## High Fire Performance Medium Fire Performance Low Fire Performance

Exhst. Excess Comb. Exhst. Excess Comb. Exhst. Excess Comb.
Temp Air Eff. Temp Air Eff. Temp Air Eff.
531 F 32% 78.3% 463 F 56% 78.4% 352 F 115% 78.7%

## Low Medium High

The optimal excess combustion air in a gas heating system for energy efficiency and
pollution prevention is about 10% (“Guide to Industrial Assessments for Pollution
Prevention and Energy Efficiency”, EPA/625/R-99/003), which yields an O 2 content of
1.7% in the exhaust gasses. Higher levels of excess air dilute the combustion stream and

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decrease the quantity of useful heat available to the process.

Boiler service technicians generally calibrate excess air with burners at high fire. If the
250-hp boiler were calibrated to 10% excess air at high fire, excess air would decrease at
all firing rates without the possibility of falling below 10%.

Recommendation
We recommend requesting the plant’s boiler service technician adjust the 250-hp boiler’s
burner to 10% excess air at high fire. Thus, excess air should decrease over the boiler’s
entire firing range. We also recommend doing the same for the 100-hp boilers if they do
not plan to be replaced with new boilers.

Estimated Savings
In the Steam System Analysis section of the report, we calculated that the plant’s boilers
operate at about 53% of full-fire on average. Thus, we assume that the 250-hp boiler, on
average, operates at about 56% excess air with a stack temperature of about 463 F, which
is how it operates at medium fire. This yields a combustion efficiency of 78.4%.

From the above chart, excess air seems to vary rather linearly with excess air. Thus, if
the excess air at high fire decreased 22 percentage points to 10%, we assume that excess
air at medium fire would also decrease 22 percentage points to 34%.

To find the efficiency improvement from reducing excess air from 56% to 34%, we used
the simulation software program HeatSim (Kissock and Carpenter, 2005), which can be
models a boiler as a heat exchanger and uses fundamental combustion equations and heat
exchanger equations to find the change in heat transfer and efficiency from reducing
boiler excess air. The HeatSim output screen below shows the efficiency improvement
and energy savings from operating the 250-hp boiler at 10% excess air instead of 54%
excess air. The input values are either defined earlier in this AR or in the Steam System
Analysis section of the report.

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According to HeatSim, the boiler efficiency would rise from 78.4% to 79.9%, and fuel
savings would be about 0.096 mmBtu per hour. Annual natural gas savings would be

## 0.096 mmBtu/hour x 8,760 hours/year = 841 mmBtu/year

841 mmBtu/year x \$8.44 /mmBtu = \$7,098 /year

## Estimated Implementation Cost

Requesting the plant’s boiler service technician adjust settings on the boiler would require
no significant cost.

## Estimated Simple Payback

Immediate

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AR X: Recalibrate Boiler Air/Fuel Ratio to 10% Excess Air at Medium
Fire
Annual Savings Project Cost Simple
ARC: 2.1233.2
Resource CO2 (lb) Dollars Capital Other Total Payback
Natural Gas 799 mmBtu 90,300 \$5,769 None None None Immediate

Analysis
The optimal excess air in a gas heating system for energy efficiency and pollution
prevention is about 10% (“Guide to Industrial Assessments for Pollution Prevention and
Energy Efficiency”, EPA/625/R-99/003). Higher levels of excess air dilute the
combustion stream and decrease the quantity of useful heat available to the process. In
addition, higher excess air levels cause the combustion stream to flow at higher
velocities, thereby reducing the heat transfer rate within the boiler.

Two boilers provide process heat to the plant. The large boiler, rated at 8.7 mmBtu/hour,
is the plant’s primary boiler. The small boiler, rated at 6.5 mmBtu/hour, is the backup
boiler and only provides process steam about one day per month, according to
maintenance. Otherwise, it is kept warm on standby. During our visit, the small boiler
provided process steam and the large boiler was on standby.

Controls on the boilers modulate natural gas and air intake to maintain the pressure at
about 105 psig. When the small boiler was operating at medium fire, we measured its
stack temperature and excess air content to be 526 F and 38%, respectively. The boiler
was then turned down to low fire, and its stack temperature and excess air content
became 486 F and 77%, respectively. This indicates that the boiler’s controls do not
maintain constant excess air at varying firing rates. The control arrangement may be such
that excess air is optimized at high fire, but control effectiveness decreases at lower firing
rates.

Recommendation
According to maintenance, a boiler service contractor periodically performs a check-up
on the plant’s boilers. We recommend asking the contractor to measure the excess air on
both boilers at varying firing rates. We then recommend requesting the contractor to
adjust the linkages so that excess air is at 10% at medium fire, which is the boilers’ most
common firing rate.

Estimated Savings
According to the Utility Analysis section of the report, 25,121 mmBtu of natural gas was
consumed by the plant in 2004. In addition, 13% of total usage is attributed to facility
use and 62% is production dependent. We assume all facility and production dependent
gas use is attributed to the boilers. If so, the annual natural gas consumption by the

## 25,121 mmBtu/year x (13% + 62%) = 18,841 mmBtu/year

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According to management, the plant operates 24 hours per day, 5 days per week, 50
weeks per year, for a total of 6,000 hours per year. Thus, the average hourly natural gas

## 18,841 mmBtu/year / 6,000 hours/year = 3.14 mmBtu/hour

Since the large 8.7 mmBtu/hour boiler is the primary boiler, we estimate the average

## According to maintenance the boiler feedwater temperature is about 180 F. The

temperature of 105 psig steam is 341 F and the enthalpy is 1,191 Btu/lb. We measured
the room air temperature used for combustion to be 66 F.

## Our spreadsheet program, CombEff.XLS, calculates the change in efficiency by adjusting

the amount of excess combustion air. The method accounts for the increased temperature
of combustion and the increased heat transfer within the boiler. It does so by modeling
the boiler as a parallel-flow heat exchanger, and calculates efficiency improvement using
the LMTD heat exchanger method. We assume the stack temperature and excess air in
the large boiler is the same as in the small boiler. For the simulation, we took the average
of the measured values between high and low fire, which were 506 F and 54%. The
calculations below, from CombEff.XLS, show the boiler’s current efficiency and the
efficiency if excess combustion air were lowered to 10%.

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Input Data
Ta = temperature combustion air before burner (F) 66
Tex = temperature exhaust gasses (F) 506
EA = excess air (0=stoch, 0.1 = optimum) 0.54
Qng (mmBtu/h) = heat input to burner 8.700
Percent rated input 0.36
Tw1 (F) 180
Tw2 (F) (for either "Steam" or "HotWater") 341
EAn = excess air (0=stoch, 0.1 = optimum) 0.10
"Steam" or "HotWater" Steam
If "Steam" then enter enthalpy of sat steam leaving boiler, hw2 (Btu/lb) 1191

## Constants (for Natural Gas)

LHV = lower heating value (Btu/lb) 21,500
HHV = higher heating value (Btu/lb) 23,900
Cpex = specific heat of products of exhaust (Btu/lb-F) 0.260
Tdpp = dew point temp of H20 in exhaust (F) 140
AFs = air/fuel mass ratio at stochiometric conditions 17.20

Calculated Values
Tc (F) = temp combustion = Ta+LHV/[(1+(1+EA)(Afs))cpp] 3,074
Qlat (Btu/lb) (Qlat = HHV - LHV if Tex < 140 F, else Qlat = 0) 0
eb = [{1 + (1+EA)(AFs)}*Cpex*(Tc-Tex) + Qlat] /HHV 76.8%
Q (Btu/h) = Useful heat transferred to water = Qng x 10^6 x Effc 2,405,399
 T1 (F) = Tc - Tw1 2,894
 T2 (F) = Tex - Tw2 165
 Tlm (F) = ( T2- T1) / ln( T2 / T1) 953
UA (Btu/h-F) = Qu / ( T lm (F)) 2,525
Tcn (F) = new temp combustion = Ta+LHV/[(1+(1+EAn)(Afs))Cp ex] 4,217
4/5
UAn (Btu/h-F) = UA [{1 + (1 + EA,n) AFs} / {1 + (1 + EA) AFs}] 1,951
ebn (with EAn but Tex const) = [1 + (1+EAn)(AFs)]*Cp ex*(Tcn-Tex)/HHV 80.4%
 T1n (F) = Tcn - Tw1 4,037
Guess current T 2n (F) (lower than T 2….) 176.1334
This should equal zero if T 2n is correct 0
Tex,n (F) = T 2n + Tw2 517
ebn = [1 + (1+EAn)(AFs)]*Cpex*(Tcn-Texn)/HHV 80.2%
Qng,n (mmBtu/h) = Qu / (ebn x 10^6) 3.000

Based on these results, we estimate that the boiler’s efficiency would increase from
76.8% to 80.2%. If the boiler operates at an average efficiency of 76.8% throughout the
year, its useful energy output is about:

## 18,841 mmBtu/year x 76.8% = 14,470 mmBtu/year

To meet this energy requirement with an 80.2% efficiency boiler, the required input

## 18,841 mmBtu/year – 18,042 mmBtu/year = 799 mmBtu/year

799 mmBtu/year x \$7.22 /mmBtu = \$5,769 /year

## The total reduction in CO2 emissions would be about:

799 mmBtu/year x 113 lb CO2/mmBtu ≈ 90,300 lb CO2 /year
Estimated Implementation Cost
Negligible.
Estimated Simple Payback
Immediate

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AR X: Reduce Excess Combustion Air in Boilers
Annual Savings Project Cost Simple
ARC: 2.1233.2
Resource CO2 (lb) Dollars Capital Other Total Payback
Natural Gas 1,064 mmBtu 120,200 \$9,225 None None None Immediate

Analysis
According to the EPA document “Guide to Industrial Assessments for Pollution
Prevention and Energy Efficiency” (EPA/625/R-99/003) the optimal excess air in a gas
heating system for energy efficiency and pollution prevention is about 10%. Higher
levels of excess air dilute the combustion stream and decrease the quantity of useful heat
available to the process. In addition, higher excess air levels cause the combustion
stream to flow at higher velocities, thereby reducing the heat transfer rate within the
boiler.

Two boilers, each rated at 7.3 mmBtu/hour input, provide steam for plant space heating.
Controls on each boiler modulate natural gas and air intake to maintain the pressure at
about 8 psig. According to maintenance, only one boiler runs at a time, and the operation
schedule alternates between the two. We measured the boiler stack temperature and
excess air content to be 367 F and 102%, respectively, at high fire. If excess air were
decreased, the boilers would operate more efficiently and less gas would be needed.

Recommendation
According to maintenance, a boiler service contractor performs a check-up on the plant’s
boilers before each heating season. We recommend asking the service contractor to
adjust the controls on the boilers so that the excess combustion air is reduced to 10% for
all firing rates.

Estimated Savings
According to maintenance, the boiler was operating at high fire during our visit, thus we
assume its input was 7.3 mmBtu/hour. According to maintenance, nearly 100% of the
condensate is returned in the steam system, thus we assume the feedwater temperature is
about 200 F. During our visit, the boiler generated steam at 8 psig (enthalpy = 1,158
Btu/lbm, temperature = 233 F).

## Our spreadsheet program, CombEff.XLS, calculates the change in efficiency by adjusting

the amount of excess combustion air. The method accounts for the increased temperature
of combustion and the increased heat transfer within the boiler. It does so by modeling
the boiler as a parallel-flow heat exchanger and calculates efficiency improvement using
the LMTD heat exchanger method and assuming that the heat transfer coefficient, UA, is
constant. The calculations below, from CombEff.XLS, show the boiler’s current
efficiency and the efficiency if excess combustion air were lowered to 10%.

21
Calcs Efficiency Gain From Decreasing Excess Air in Boilers (PF)

Input Data
Tca = temperature combustion air before burner (F) 70
Tex = temperature exhaust gasses (F) 367
EA = excess air (0=stoch, 0.1 = optimum) 1.02
Qng (mmBtu/h) = heat input to burner 7.300
Tw1 (F) 200
Tw2 (F) (for either "Steam" or "HotWater") 233
EAn = excess air (0=stoch, 0.1 = optimum) 0.10
"Steam" or "HotWater" Steam
If "Steam" then enter enthalpy of sat steam leaving boiler, hw2 (Btu/lb) 1158

## Constants (for Natural Gas)

LHV = lower heating value (Btu/lb) 21,500
HHV = higher heating value (Btu/lb) 23,900
cpp = specific heat of products of exhaust (Btu/lb-F) 0.260
Tdpp = dew point temp of H20 in exhaust (F) 140
Afs = air/fuel mass ratio at stochiometric conditions 17.20

Calculated Values
hr (Btu/lb) = heat of reaction = LHV if Tex > 140 else HHV 21,500
Tc (F) = temp combustion = Tca+hr/[(1+(1+EA)(Afs))cpp] 2,383
Effc = [1 + (1+EA)(AFs)]*cpp*(Tc-Tex)/HHV 78.4%
Qu (Btu/h) = Useful heat transferred to water = Qng x 10^6 x Effc 5,723,887
dt1 (F) = Tc - Tw1 2,183
dt2 (F) = Tex - Tw2 134
dtlm (F) = (dt2-dt1) / ln(dt2/dt1) 734
UA (Btu/h-F) = Qu / (dtlm) 7,794
Tcn (F) = new temp combustion = Tca+hr/[(1+(1+EAn)(Afs))cpp] 4,221
Effcn (with EAn but Tex const) = [1 + (1+EAn)(AFs)]*cpp*(Tc-Tex)/HHV 83.5%
dt1n (F) = Tcn - Tw1 4,021
Guess current dt2n (F) (lower than dt2….) 17
This should equal zero if dt2 is correct 0
Texn (F) = dt2n + Tw2 250
Effcn = [1 + (1+EAn)(AFs)]*cpp*(Tcn-Texn)/HHV 86.1%
Qngn (mmBtu/h) = Qu / (Effcn x 10^6) 6.652

According to these calculations, the boiler’s efficiency would increase from 78.4% to
86.1%. We assume this would be true throughout the entire heating season for both
boilers. According to the Utility Analysis section of the report, about 77% of the plant’s
annual natural gas use, or 11,883 mmBtu is used for space heating. Assuming the boiler
operates at 78.4% efficiency throughout the year, its useful energy output is about:

## 11,883 mmBtu/year x 78.4% = 9,316 mmBtu/year

To meet this energy requirement with an 86.1% efficiency boiler, the required input

22
9,316 mmBtu/year / 86.1% = 10,819 mmBtu/year

## 11,883 mmBtu/year – 10,819 mmBtu/year = 1,064 mmBtu/year

1,064 mmBtu/year x \$8.67 /mmBtu = \$9,225 /year

## Estimated Implementation Cost

Requesting the boiler service contractor adjust intake air controls involves no
implementation cost.

## Estimated Simple Payback

Immediate

23
AR X: Reduce Excess Combustion Air in Boiler
Annual Savings Project Cost Simple
ARC: ?
Resource CO2 (lb) Dollars Capital Other Total Payback
Natural Gas 93 mmBtu 10,500 \$729 None None None Immediate

Analysis
During our visit, we measured the temperature and quantity of excess air in the exhaust
gasses of the primary boiler. The temperature was about 433 F. The exhaust gasses
contained about 29% more air than is required for stoichiometric combustion. The ideal
amount of excess air is 10%.

Recommendation
We recommend asking your boiler maintenance contractor to slightly reduce the quantity
of combustion air supplied to the boiler so that the boiler operates at 10% excess air at
high fire.

Estimated Savings
Our spreadsheet program, CombEff.XLS, predicts combustion efficiency as a function of
excess air, exhaust temperature and intake air temperature. The program shows that the
efficiency of combustion with 30% excess air is about 80.0%. This compares well with
the 81% combustion efficiency calculated by our efficiency instrument. The input data,
constants, equations and output are shown below.

Input Data
EA = excess air (0=stoch, 0.1 = optimum) 0.29
Tca = temperature combustion air before burner (F) 69
Tex = temperature exhaust gasses (F) 433

## Constants (for Natural Gas)

LHV = lower heating value (Btu/lb) 21,500
HHV = higher heating value (Btu/lb) 23,900
cpp = specific heat of products of exhaust (Btu/lb-F) 0.260
Tdpp = dew point temp of H20 in exhaust (F) 140
Afs = air/fuel mass ratio at stochiometric conditions 17.20

Calculated Values
hr = heat of reaction = (if Tex<140 then hr=HHV else hr = LHV) 21,500
Tc = temp combustion (F) = Tca+hr/[(1+(1+EA)(Afs))cpp] 3,635
Efficiency = [1 + (1+EA)(AFs)]*cpp*(Tc-Tex)/HHV 80.8%

If the quantity of excess air was reduced to 10%, the efficiency of the boiler would
increase to about 82.1% as shown below.

Input Data

## EA = excess air (0=stoch, 0.1 = optimum) 0.10

Tca = temperature combustion air before burner (F) 69

24
Tex = temperature exhaust gasses (F) 433

## Constants (for Natural Gas)

LHV = lower heating value (Btu/lb) 21,500
HHV = higher heating value (Btu/lb) 23,900
cpp = specific heat of products of exhaust (Btu/lb-F) 0.260
Tdpp = dew point temp of H20 in exhaust (F) 140
Afs = air/fuel mass ratio at stochiometric conditions 17.20

Calculated Values
hr = heat of reaction = (if Tex<140 then hr=HHV else hr = LHV) 21,500
Tc = temp combustion (F) = Tca+hr/[(1+(1+EA)(Afs))cpp] 4,220
Efficiency = [1 + (1+EA)(AFs)]*cpp*(Tc-Tex)/HHV 82.1%

According to billing data, the energy content of the diesel fuel input to the boiler during
the last year was 5,885 mmBtu.

## (5,885 mmBtu/hr) x (1 – 80.8% / 82.1%) = 93 mmBtu/yr

93 mmBtu/yr x \$7.84 /mmBtu = \$729 /year

## Estimated Implementation Cost

According to management, the boiler is maintained by a contractor. The cost of asking to
the contractor adjust the quantity of combustion air during a regularly scheduled
maintenance call would be negligible.

## Estimated Simple Payback

Immediate

25
AR X: Adjust Air/Fuel Ratio to Improve Boiler Efficiency
Annual Savings Project Simple
Resource CO2 (lb) Dollars Cost Payback
Natural Gas 736 MBtu 84,640 \$4,247 \$500 1 month

Analysis
A natural-gas fired boiler rated at 2.1 MBtu per hour supplies 100 psig steam for process
heating. The boiler has two modes of firing, high fire and low fire. During our visit, the
boiler ran on low fire most of the time. We measured the exhaust stack temperature of
the boiler to be about 670 F.

## In addition, data from measurements performed by a boiler maintenance contractor on

11/01/2001 are shown in the table below. These measurements are consistent with the
measurements we took using our combustion analyzer, and are very troubling.

## 11/01/2001 12:38 pm 11/01/2001 12:41 pm

Stack Temp 598 F 551 F
Ambient Temperature 96.5 F 96.5 F
O2 9.0 % 9.2 %
CO2 6.7 % 6.6 %
CO 0% 0%
Excess air 67.3% 70.0 %
Efficiency 75.7% 74.4 %

Most boilers are designed to operate at stack temperatures less than 100 F above the
temperature of the steam and with about 10% excess air. The elevated stack temperature
and percent O2 in the flue gas of your boiler most likely indicates insufficient heat
transfer across the heat exchanger due to fouling of the heat exchanger surfaces, and/or
the air/fuel ratio is too high, resulting in excess pressure drop (draft) and exhaust flow
rate across the heat exchanger.

Recommendation
First, we strongly recommend that you contact a competent boiler service company and
reduce the air/fuel ratio. The optimum amount of O2 in the flue gas for a natural gas
boiler is about 2.2%, which corresponds to 10% excess air. In contrast, the oxygen
content of your flue gas is 9%, which corresponds to 67% excess air! Reducing the
amount of excess air will decrease the draft across the heat exchanger, lower the exhaust
temperature and significantly increase the efficiency of the boiler.

Once the air/fuel ratio is properly adjusted, the stack temperature should decrease to less
than 100 F above the temperature of the steam. The temperature of saturated steam at
100 psig is about 337 F. Thus, the stack temperature should be less than about 440 F. If
it isn’t, it is probably indicative of fouling and/or deposits on the heat exchanger surfaces.
In this case, we recommend cleaning and descaling the heat exchange surfaces. In
addition, water treatment practices should be reexamined.

26
Estimated Savings
Currently, the combustion efficiency of the boiler is about 75%. If the boiler were
operating properly with 2.2% O2, 10% excess air, and an exhaust temperature of about
440 F (net stack temperature of 360 F assuming 80 F ambient air temperature) the

According to management the boiler operates for about 8,000 hours per year. Assuming
that, on average, the boiler is 50% loaded, the savings from adjusting the boiler would be

## 2.1 MBtu/hr x 50% x 8,000 hr/yr = 8,400 MBtu/yr

 75% 
8,400 MBtu/yr x 1   = 736 MBtu/yr
 82.2% 
736 MBtu/yr x \$5.77 /MBtu = \$4,247 /yr

## Estimated Implementation Cost

We estimate hiring a boiler service company to optimize the combustion efficiency would
cost less than \$500.

## Estimated Simple Payback

\$500 / \$4,247 /year x 12 months/year = 1 months

27
AR X: Reduce Boiler Pressure to Improve the Efficiency of the Fire
Tube Boiler
Annual Savings Project Simple
Resource CO2 (lb) Dollars Cost Payback
Natural Gas 1,004 MBtu 11,245 \$3,333 None Immediate

## Analysis and Recommendation

Steam is supplied to the plant from two boilers for process and space heating. One boiler
is a water tube boiler generating steam at 135 psig. It is rated at 40,000 pounds per hour.
The other is a fire tube boiler generating steam at 95 psig. It is rated at 8,800 pounds per
hour. The fire-tube boiler supplies steam to the plant during the second shift and during
the weekend for space heating purposes. Management estimates that the fire-tube boiler

The boiler has an oxygen sensor on the flue stack, which regulates the air/fuel ratio to
maximize boiler efficiency. Despite this control feature, the temperature of flue gases
were about 600 F. This is unusually high; normal stack temperatures are about 400 F.
After discussions with management, we concluded that the reason for the elevated stack
temperatures must be insufficient heat transfer area inside the boiler. Management agreed
with this assessment.

During our visit we measured the temperature of the exhaust in the flue stack, Ts, and the
the following Table 6.1.

Table 6.1. Measured stack temperatures, Ts, and efficiency, E, of the fire-tube boiler.
Boiler Pressure High Fire Medium Fire Low Fire
100 psig Ts=620 F; E = 75.6% Ts=550 F; E=76.0% Ts = 400 F; E=78.8 %
70 psig Ts = 380 F; E=84.0 %

Management suggested that in the past, this boiler was successfully operated at 70 psig
during second shift. We recommend doing this again to increase the efficiency of the
boiler and reduce the amount of natural gas consumed by the boiler. Management also
expressed concern that the boiler could not generate enough steam at a set-point pressure
of 70 psig. This would not be the case. In fact, the boiler would be able to generate more
steam at 70 psig than it can at 100 psig. In addition, we asked a boiler expert if running
the boiler at a lower set-point pressure would harm the boiler. The boiler expert assured
us that this is not the case.

Estimated Savings
Management estimates that, on average, the fire-tube boiler is about 75% loaded. If so,
this would mean that the fire-tube boiler uses about half of all natural gas to both boilers.
Thus, we estimate that the fire tube boiler is closer to 50% loaded.

From Table 6.1, the boiler is about 76% efficient when 50% loaded and operating at 100

28
psig. We were unable to record the efficiency of the boiler at medium fire when operated
at 70 psig. However, using the efficiency trend from operating the boiler at 100 psig, we
estimate that the boiler would be 81% efficient if operated at 70 psig. The fire-tube boiler
runs from about 2 pm to 11 pm for five days per week. The enthalpy of water at 50 F is
about 18 Btu/lb and the enthalpy of saturated steam at 100 psig is about 1190 Btu/lb.
Thus, the energy consumption of the boiler operating at 100 psig during second shift is

8,800 lb/hr x 50% x (1,190 – 18) Btu/lb x 9 hr/dy x 5 dy/wk x 50 wk/yr / 76 % = 15,267
MBtu/yr

The enthalpy of saturated steam at 70 psig is about 1,185 Btu/lb. The energy
consumption of the boiler operating at 70 psig during second shift would be about:

8,800 lb/hr x 50% x (1,185 – 18) Btu/lb x 9 hr/dy x 5 dy/wk x 50 wk/yr / 81 % = 14,263
MBtu/yr

## 15,267 MBtu/yr - 14,263 MBtu/yr = 1,004 MBtu/yr

1,004 MBtu/yr x \$3.32 /MBtu = \$3,333 /yr

These savings are conservative since we did not include weekend operation of boiler for
space heating. To verify our assumptions, we cross check with utility data. Based on
these estimates, the fire-tube boiler would consume about

## 15,267 MBtu/yr / 50,442 MBtu/yr = 30%

of all natural gas. The percent savings from operating at a lower pressure would be

None.

## Estimated Simple Payback

Immediate.

29
AR X: Reduce Air Flow Through Dispatch and Jenson Ovens
Annual Savings Project Cost Simple
ARC: ?
Resource CO2 (lb) Dollars Capital Other Total Payback
Natural gas 327 mmBtu 37,000 \$2,564 None None None Immediate

Analysis
The Dispatch oven is equipped with an exhaust air fan which forces air out of the oven
and draws an equal amount of air in through an open grate. The exhaust duct is equipped
with a damper, which is currently set to 100% open. If the damper were partially closed,
the quantity of air heated by the oven would be reduced, which would improve the
efficiency of the oven and decrease gas use. However, it is important to maintain enough
air flow through the furnace so that fumes emitted by the products do not accumulate
inside the furnace and cause an explosive situation.

The Jenson oven has a similar configuration, but is about twice as big and has a burner
with about twice the capacity of the Dispatch oven.

Recommendation
We recommend slightly closing the exhaust dampers to reduce airflow through the Jenson
and Dispatch ovens. We recommend that the dampers be closed no more than 25% in
order to maintain sufficient airflow though the ovens.

Estimated Savings
The indoor air temperature in the plant is about 70 F. We measured the temperature of
the walls and top of the oven during operation, and found that they were at about 75 F.
Thus, we assume that energy loss through the shell of the oven is negligible. According
to management, the Dispatch oven operated at about 250 F for about 70 hours per week
during the past year. The product of the density and specific heat of air is about 0.018
Btu/ft3-F. In the Major Gas Using Equipment section of the report, we estimated that the
Dispatch oven used about 875 mmBtu/yr of natural gas. If so, the average flow air flow
rate through the oven is about:

875 mmBtu/yr / (60 min/hr x 70 hr/wk x 50 wk/yr x 0.018 Btu/ft3-F x (250 – 70) F) =
1,286 ft3/min

We estimate that the motor on the exhaust fan is about 1-hp. According to the 2000-2001
Grainger Catalog pg. 3666, 1-hp double-inlet blowers similar to the blower on the oven
generate about 1,300 cfm at 1.125 in wg static pressure. Thus, this flow rate appears to
be reasonable.

According to management, the Dispatch oven will operate for about 35 hours per week
during the coming year. If the flow were reduced by 25%, the savings would be about:

(1,286 ft3/min x 60 min/hr x 35 hr/wk x 50 wk/yr x 25%) x 0.018 Btu/ft 3-F x (250 – 70) F =
109 mmBtu/yr

30
The Jenson oven has a similar configuration, but is about twice as big and has a burner
with about twice the capacity of the Dispatch oven. Thus, we estimate that the savings
from reducing the flow of air through the Jenson oven by 25%, would be twice as much
as the savings from reducing the flow of air through the Dispatch oven by 25%. If so, the
total savings would be:

## 109 mmBtu/yr + (2 x 109 mmBtu/yr) = 327 mmBtu/yr

327 mmBtu/yr x \$7.84 /mmBtu = \$2,564 /yr

## Estimated Implementation Cost

According to the facilities manager, the cost of adjusting the exhaust damper would be
negligible.

## Estimated Simple Payback

Immediate

31
AR X: Recalibrate Boiler Air/Fuel Ratio to 10% Excess Air at Low Fire
Annual Savings Project Cost Simple
ARC: 2.1233.2
Resource CO2 (lb) Dollars Capital Other Total Payback
Natural Gas 587 mmBtu 66,300 \$4,309 None None None Immediate

Analysis
A service contractor maintains the plant’s boilers. The service contractor measured
exhaust gas temperature, percent oxygen and percent excess air for the Hurst boiler at
high, medium, and low fire. We calculated the combustion efficiency based on these
data. The results are shown in the table below. The Hurst boiler is only used as a backup.
Combustion data from the Johnston boiler, which operates most of the time, were not
available. We assume that these data are also representative of the Johnston boiler.

Percent Percent
Firing Exhaust Gas Combustion
O2 In Excess
Rate Temperature Efficiency
Exhaust Air
High 433 F 6.1% 38.0% 80.5%
Medium 374 F 6.5% 42.0% 81.8%
Low 335 F 8.6% 65.0% 81.8%

The optimal excess combustion air in a gas heating system for energy efficiency and
pollution prevention is about 10% (“Guide to Industrial Assessments for Pollution
Prevention and Energy Efficiency”, EPA/625/R-99/003). Higher levels of excess air
dilute the combustion stream and decrease the quantity of useful heat available to the
process.

The data in the table indicate that the quantity of excess air increases as firing rate
decreases. Thus, it appears this boiler was calibrated to operate most efficiently at high
fire. However, as explained in the Steam System Analysis section of the report, the
average natural gas demand of the Johnston boiler is less than its minimum natural gas
input. Thus, the burner cycles off and on at minimum fire to maintain a set steam
pressure. Calibrating the boiler to use minimum excess air at low fire, rather than high
fire, would increase the efficiency of the boiler.

Recommendation
We recommend requesting the contractor to recalibrate the boiler to use 10% excess air at
low fire where the boiler operates most often.

Estimated Savings
To calculate savings from reducing excess air to 10%, we used the Department of Energy
website www.oit.doe.gov. The figure below shows that current combustion efficiency is
82.9%, and that reducing excess air to 10% would increase combustion efficiency to
85.7%.

32
PHAST Results from Reducing Excess Air

According to the Steam System Analysis, the Johnston boiler operates at 6.27 mmBtu/hr
input for about 40% of plant operating time. Using the results from PHAST, the average
hourly heat transferred to water/steam is about:

## 6.27 mmBtu/hour x 40% x 82.9% = 2.08 mmBtu/hour

If excess air was reduced, causing combustion efficiency to increase to 85.7%, the
percentage of time the boiler would need to fire in order to transfer 2.08 mmBtu/hr to

## 2.08 mmBtu/hour / (6.27 mmBtu/hour x 85.7%) = 38.7%

According to management, the plant operates about 7,200 hours/year. Thus, annual
natural gas savings would be about:

## 6.27 mmBtu/hour x 7,200 hours/year x (40% - 38.7%) = 587 mmBtu/year

587 mmBtu/year x \$7.34 /mmBtu = \$4,309 /year

## 587 mmBtu/year x 113 lb CO2/mmBtu ≈ 66,300 lb CO2 /year

Reducing excess air would also cause the boiler to fire for less frequently. Doing so
would cause draft loss to increase if AR X was not implemented. Hence, we encourage
AR X to be implemented in order to realize the full savings potential.

## Estimated Implementation Cost

Requesting a boiler contractor to adjust controls on a regularly scheduled visit requires no
significant cost.

## Estimated Simple Payback

33
Immediate

34
AR X: Recalibrate Furnace Air/Fuel Ratio to 10% Excess Air
Annual Savings Project Cost Simple
ARC: 2.1233.2
Resource CO2 (lb) Dollars Capital Other Total Payback
Natural Gas 26,143 mmBtu 2,954,000 \$222,216 \$2,500 \$1,230 \$3,730 1 month

Analysis
We measured excess air in the exhaust gasses of one of the plant’s aluminum pot furnaces
to be 95%. The optimal excess combustion air in a gas heating system for energy
efficiency and pollution prevention is about 10% (“Guide to Industrial Assessments for
Pollution Prevention and Energy Efficiency”, EPA/625/R-99/003). Higher levels of
excess air dilute the combustion stream and decrease the quantity of useful heat available
to the process.

The pot furnace burners are North American brand burners. According to manufacturer
literature, the burners are capable of varying combustion air intake over their firing range.
Therefore, excess air should stay relatively constant when the burner is controlled
properly. Maintenance showed us the intake air adjustment controls on the furnaces,
which can be manually tuned by plant maintenance.

The following table shows the rated input of each furnace type, estimated average natural
gas consumption, and the percentage of average consumption to the rated input, based off
of values as derived in the Process Heating Analysis section of the report.

Estimated
Rated Percentage
Average
Furnace Type Input (Avg. Cons. /
Consumption
(mmBtu/hr) Rated Input)
(mmBtu/hr)
Reverb (Prod. Time) 8.7 2.18 25%
Reverb (Non-Prod. Time) 8.7 0.44 5%
Aluminum Melting 1.5 0.54 36%
Aluminum Pot 1.5 0.54 36%
Zinc 0.75 0.27 36%

## To achieve maximum energy efficiency, furnaces should be calibrated at their average

firing rate where they operate most often. Based on the percentages in the table shown
above, the furnaces seem to operate mostly in the low-to-medium firing range.

Recommendation
We recommend recalibrating the air/fuel ratio on each of the plant’s furnaces to 10%
excess air at their average firing rates, which are low-to-medium. Calibrating would
involve one technician taking a real-time combustion gas analysis while another
technician adjust intake air controls until 10% excess air is reached. A combustion gas
analysis can be done with a combustion analyzer probe. Online literature from the burner
manufacturer, North American (namfg.com), recommends burners operate at around 20%
excess air, which is close to our recommendation.

35
Estimated Savings
Definition & Derivation
Combustion efficiency is defined as the ratio of heat transferred to metal to the total fuel
energy supplied. To calculate combustion efficiency, adiabatic combustion temperature,
Tc, must first be calculated, which is a function of combustion air inlet temperature, Ta,
and excess combustion air, EA. Constants in the calculation are natural gas lower heating
value (LHV = 21,500 Btu/lb), stoichiometric air/fuel ratio for natural gas combustion
(AFs = 17.2 lb-air/lb-ng), and natural gas specific heat (Cp = 0.26 Btu/lb-F). The
following equation calculates adiabatic combustion temperature, Tc.

## Tc = Ta + LHV / [{1 + (1 + EA) • AFs} • Cp]

The heat transferred to metal, Qtrans, is a function of natural gas mass flow rate, mng, air
mass flow rate, mair, combustion temperature, Tc, and exhaust gas outlet temperature, Tex.
The following equation calculates heat transferred to metal, Qtrans.

## Qtrans = (mng + mair) • Cp • (Tc – Tex)

The total fuel energy supplied, Qsupp, is equal to natural gas mass flow rate, mng, and
higher heating value of natural gas (HHV = 23,900 Btu/lb).

## ε = Qtrans / Qsupp = [(mng + mair) • Cp • (Tc – Tex)] / [mng • HHV]

The mass terms cancel, and combustion efficiency, ε, becomes a function of excess air.

## ε = [{1 + (1 + EA) • AFs} • Cp • (Tc – Tex)] / HHV

From this equation and the equation for combustion temperature, Tc; combustion
efficiency, ε, is purely a function of excess air, EA, inlet combustion air temperature, Ta,
and exhaust gas outlet temperature, Tex. This method for calculating combustion
efficiency has been incorporated into the process heat simulation program HeatSim
(Kissock and Carpenter, 2001) which can be downloaded free of charge off of the UD-
IAC website at www.udayton.edu/udiac.

## Aluminum Pot Furnaces

Each aluminum pot furnace is equipped with a recuperator that transfers energy from
exhaust outlet gasses to the inlet combustion air. We measured plant air temperature near
the combustion air inlet to be 100 F and measured inlet combustion air temperature of
one pot furnace to be 615 F after being preheated. We measured exhaust gas temperature
to be 950 F at the outlet of the recuperator after transferring heat to combustion air. In
addition, we measured 95% excess air in the exhaust. We could not measure the

36
temperature of exhaust gasses immediately after leaving the furnace and before entering
the recuperator. However, the temperature gain of combustion air in a recuperator is
about equal to temperature lost from exhaust gasses since the two streams have nearly the
same mass flow rate and specific heat. The temperature gain of combustion air is about:

## 615 F – 100 F = 515 F

If the exhaust gasses lose 515 F through the recuperator, their temperature immediately
after leaving the furnace is about:

## 950 F + 515 F = 1,465 F

The following HeatSim output screens show the current furnace combustion efficiency
with recuperator, and the combustion efficiency if no heat were reclaimed and inlet
combustion air temperature was 100 F.

## Pot Furnace Efficiency with Recuperator Pot Furnace Efficiency without

Recuperator

These calculations indicate that the aluminum pot furnace is 58.0% efficient, and would
be 38.7% efficient without a recuperator. Thus, the recuperator increases the efficiency

Reverb Furnace
Management monitored natural gas consumption of the reverb furnace to be 2.18
mmBtu/hr on average during production time. To calculate reverb furnace efficiency, we
consider the two major heat sinks associated with the furnace: the aluminum inside of the
furnace and the plant atmosphere to which the furnace emits heat. The remaining furnace
heat is lost through the stack, and is not considered useful.

According to last year’s production records, the company purchased about 10,825,000
pounds of raw material. According to management, about 65% - 70% of total raw
material is melted in the reverb furnace. Assuming 65%, the average hourly mass of
aluminum loaded into the reverb furnace during the plant’s 5,400 annual production

## (10,825,000 lbs/year x 65%) / 5,400 hours/year = 1,303 lbs/hour

37
Aluminum has a specific heat of 0.215 Btu/lb-F and a latent heat of melting of 138
Btu/lb. We measured the average plant temperature to be 95 F. Thus, the heat required to
melt 1,253 lbs/hour of aluminum to 1,350 F is about:

## 1,303 lbs/hour x [0.215 Btu/lb-F x (1,350 F – 95 F) + 138 Btu/lb] = 531,396 Btu/hour

To calculate shell heat loss from the reverb furnace, we entered reverb furnace
dimensions and temperatures into HeatSim. (Shell loss is discussed in greater detail in
AR X.) According to HeatSim, 256,131 Btu/hour is attributed to reverb furnace shell
loss.

## Reverb Furnace Shell Loss

Dividing useful heat output by total heat input, the efficiency of the reverb furnace is

(531,396 Btu/hr + 256,131 Btu/hr) / [2.18 mmBtu/hr x (106 Btu /mmBtu)] = 36.1%

According to the digital monitor on the reverb furnace, aluminum temperature inside the
furnace was 1,350 F and exhaust gas temperature was about 1,900 F during our visit. The
HeatSim output screen below shows that about 54% excess air would result in 36.1%
combustion efficiency. Thus, we assume the reverb furnace operates with 54% excess air.

## Reverb Furnace Efficiency During Production Time

38
Management indicated the set-point temperature of the aluminum inside the furnace is
turned down to 1,200 F during non-production time. Thus, we estimate exhaust
temperature is about 150 F lower than during production time. If so, exhaust gas
temperature is about 1,750 F. Assuming excess air is also 54% during non-production
time, combustion efficiency is about 40.6%.

## Aluminum Melting Furnaces

Although we could not analyze the exhaust gasses of any melting furnace, we know the
exhaust gas temperature is close to the pot furnace exhaust gas before entering the
recuperator. We assume the melting furnaces are calibrated similarly to the pot furnace
we analyzed. If so, excess air content would also be about 95%, and the combustion
efficiency would be about 38.7%, which is the efficiency of a pot furnace without a
recuperator.

Zinc Furnaces
The digital controls on the zinc furnaces indicate the zinc temperature inside the furnace
is about 830. The temperature of aluminum in the pot furnaces is 1,250 F and stack
temperature is about 1,465 F, which is a difference of 215 F. Assuming the exhaust gas
temperature of the zinc furnaces is also 215 F greater than the zinc, the exhaust gas

## 830 F + 215 F = 1,045 F

We could not measure excess air in the exhaust gasses; however, we assume the melting
furnaces are calibrated similarly to the pot furnace. If so, excess air content is about
95%. The HeatSim output screen below shows the combustion efficiency of the zinc

39
Zinc Furnace Combustion Efficiency

In the proceeding analysis, we assumed the pot furnaces, melting furnaces, and zinc
furnaces were all calibrated similarly, thus operate at about 95% excess air. We assumed
the reverb furnace operates at 50% excess air. With these excess air values, we calculated
combustion efficiency of each furnace using HeatSim (Kissock and Carpenter, 2005),
which can be downloaded free of charge off of the UDIAC website
www.udayton.edu/udiac.

## To determine savings, we calculated the combustion efficiency of each furnace operating

at 10% excess air, as shown in the following HeatSim output screens.

## Pot Furnace Combustion Efficiency Melting Furnace Combustion

Efficiency
With 10% Excess Air With 10% Excess Air

40
Reverb Furnace Combustion Efficiency Reverb Furnace Combustion
Efficiency
During Production Time With 10% EA During Non-Production Time With
10% EA

## Zinc Furnace Combustion Efficiency

With 10% Excess Air

The following table summarizes the annual natural gas used by each group of furnaces,
their current combustion efficiency, their combustion efficiency at 10% excess air, and
annual natural gas savings. Values associated with current furnace operation were taken
from the Process Heat Analysis. Annual natural gas savings was calculated using the
following equation.

## NG Savings = Current Gas Use x (1 – Current Efficiency /New Efficiency)

Annual Annual
Current Combustion
Natural Gas Natural Gas
Furnace Type Combustion Efficiency at
Use Savings
Efficiency 10% Excess Air
(mmBtu/year) (mmBtu/year)
Aluminum Pot 37,908 58.0% 71.5% 7,157
Reverb (Prod. Time) 12,243 36.1% 51.0% 3,577
Reverb (Non-Prod. Time) 1,373 40.6% 54.2% 345
Aluminum Melting 33,113 38.7% 60.4% 11,897
Zinc 14,580 54.4% 69.5% 3,168
Total 99,217 26,143

According to the table, about 26,143 mmBtu per year could be saved from reducing
excess air. Cost savings would be about:

## Estimated Implementation Cost

41
A combustion flue gas analyzer capable of analyzing exhaust streams up to about 1,800 F
costs about \$2,500. We estimate it would take two maintenance workers about ½ hour to
calibrate a furnace. The plant has approximately 41 furnaces. At a labor rate of \$30 per
hour, the maintenance cost of calibrating the furnaces would be about:

## Estimated Simple Payback

(\$3,730 / \$222,216 /year) x 12 months/year = 1 month

42
AR X: Convert Forehearth to Oxy-fuel Burners
Annual Savings Project
Fuel (mmBtu) Elec (kWh) CO2 (lbs) Dollars (\$) Cost (\$) Payback
Energy 114,730 -2,266,397 7,751,000 \$714,721 \$2,000,000 34 months

Analysis
The forehearth currently uses atmospheric air to mix with natural gas for combustion.
The plant’s melting furnaces were recently retrofitted with oxy-fuel burners, which use
pure oxygen to mix with natural gas for combustion. Oxy-fuel is more energy-efficient
and provides a higher flame temperature than burners that use atmospheric air because
atmospheric air contains nitrogen which does not contribute to the combustion chemical
reaction but only acts as a heat sink. Oxygen is produced in an oxygen plant and sent to
the melting furnaces.

Within the next year, the forehearth will be rebuilt. According to management, it is
possible to retrofit the forehearth with oxy-fuel burners during rebuild.

Recommendation
We recommend converting the forehearth to use oxy-fuel burners during rebuild and
expanding the oxygen plant to provide for oxy-gas for the forehearth.

Estimated Savings
The temperature of exhaust from the forehearth is about 2,700 F. The spreadsheet below
is an output screen from CombEff.xls for the combustion of atmospheric air with natural
gas. CombEff.xls incorporates combustion chemical equations and heat energy balances
to calculate combustion efficiency. According to the spreadsheet, the combustion
efficiency in the forehearth is currently about 28.0%.

Input Data
EA = excess air (0=stoch, 0.1 = optimum) 0.20
Tca = temperature combustion air before burner (F) 70
Tex = temperature exhaust gasses (F) 2,700

## Constants (for Natural Gas)

LHV = lower heating value (Btu/lb) 21,500
HHV = higher heating value (Btu/lb) 23,900
Cpp = specific heat of products of exhaust (Btu/lb-F) 0.260
Afs = air/fuel mass ratio at stochiometric conditions 17.20

Calculated Values
Tc = temp combustion (F) = Tca+LHV/[(1+(1+EA)(Afs))Cpp] 3,891
Efficiency = [1 + (1+EA)(AFs)]*Cpp*(Tc-Tex)/HHV 28.0%

The graph below demonstrates the combustion efficiency improvement from using pure
O2 as the oxidizer in natural gas combustion. According to the graph, the forehearth
combustion efficiency would increase to about 67%.

43
Source: North American Combustion Handbook 3rd ed. North American Manufacturing
Company. 1995

According to management’s records, the forehearth uses about 197,100 mmBtu per year.
Thus, the annual natural gas savings would be about:

## 197,100 mmBtu/year x [1 – (28% / 67%)] = 114,730 mmBtu/year

114,730 mmBtu/year x \$7.00 /mmBtu = \$803,110 /year

## 114,730 mmBtu/year x 113 lb CO2/mmBtu ≈ 12,964,000 lb CO2 /year

To generate oxygen for oxy-fuel, additional electrical energy would be needed. The
annual natural gas used in the forehearth would be about:

## 197,100 mmBtu/year – 114,730 mmBtu/year = 82,370 mmBtu/year

The higher heating value of natural gas is about 23,900 mmBtu/lb. For stoichiometric
combustion, four lb of oxygen is needed for one lb of natural gas. If the forehearth
operated at 20% excess oxygen, the annual mass of oxygen used would be about:

44
82,370 mmBtu/year x 106 Btu/mmBtu x (lb-NG /23,900 Btu) x 4 lb-O2 /lb-NG x 120%
= 16,542,929 lb/year

At standard conditions, the density of oxygen is 0.0827 lb/ft3. Thus, the annual volume
of oxygen used by the forehearth would be about:

16,542,929 lb/year / 0.0827 lb/ ft3 x (mcf /1,000 ft3) = 200,035 mcf/year

According to the Melter Efficiency Analysis section of the report, about 11.33 kWh of
electricity is needed to produce 1 mcf of oxygen. Thus, the annual increase in electrical

## 200,035 mcf/year x 11.33 kWh/mcf = 2,266,397 kWh/year

2,266,397 kWh/year x \$0.039 /kWh = \$88,389 /year

## Estimated Implementation Cost

According to management, it would cost about \$2,000,000 to convert the forehearth to
use oxy-fuel and expand the oxygen plant to provide enough oxy-gas.

## Estimated Simple Payback

(\$2,000,000 / \$714,721 /year) x 12 months/year = 34 months

45
AR 6: Convert Two Smelters’ Gas Burners from Atmospheric
Combustion to Oxy-fuel Combustion
Annual Savings Project Cost
Simple
ARC: 2.1126.1 CO2
Resource Dollars Capital Other Total Payback
(tonnes)
Natural Gas 7,771 mmBtu 391 \$75,942 \$100,000 \$50,000 \$150,000
Oxygen -\$66,052
Total 7,771 mmBtu 391 \$9,890 \$100,000 \$50,000 \$150,000 182 month

Analysis
Smelters No. 3 and 600 currently use atmospheric air for combustion. Smelters No. 1
and No. 2 have been retrofitted with oxy-fuel burners, which mix pure oxygen with
natural gas for combustion. Oxy-fuel is more energy-efficient and provides a higher
flame temperature than burners that use atmospheric air because atmospheric air contains
about 79% nitrogen. The nitrogen does not contribute to the combustion chemical
reaction, but it does act as a heat sink and lowers the temperature of combustion.

Management is considering retrofitting the No. 3 and 600 smelters to oxyfire and asked
us to estimate savings.

Smelter No. 3
Recommendation

46
Based on the analysis below, retrofitting smelters’ No.3 and 600 atmospheric burners to
use oxy-fuel burners, would reduce operating costs. However, the investment is
substantial and the pay back is long.

Estimated Savings
The temperature of exhaust from smelters No. 3 and 600 is about 2,550 F. We assume the
excess air for smelters No. 3 and 600 is about 5 percent. The combustion equation for the
combustion of natural gas is:

## CH4 + 2(O2 + 3.76 N2)  CO2 + 2 H20 + 7.52 N2

The ratio of the mass of combustion air, mca, to the mass of natural gas, mng, is called the
air fuel ratio, AF. Using the combustion equation above, the air fuel ratio for
stochiometric (complete) combustion, AFs, are about:

## Excess air is defined as:

EA = mca,actual / mca,stoch - 1

## Thus, the actual air/fuel ratio, AF, can be written as:

AF = (1+EA) x AFs

From an energy balance on the combustion process, the combustion temperature, Tc, can
be calculated as:

## Tc = Tca + hr / [cpp x {1 + (1+EA) x AFs]

where cpp is the specific heat of products of combustion, Tca is the temperature of the
combustion air before entering the burner and hr is the heat of reaction of the fuel.

The heat of reaction, hr, is the useful heat transferred from the combustion chamber
during the combustion reaction. In this case, the heat of reaction equals the lower heating
value (LHV) of the fuel because the exhaust gas streams are above 140 F. The heating
values of natural gas are shown below:

## LHVng = 21,500 Btu/lbng HHVng = 23,900 Btu/lbng

The steady-state efficiency of combustion is the ratio of the useful heat delivered to the
process to the heat content of the fuel. Using the preceding equations, the combustion
efficiency is:

## Eff = [{1 + (1+EA) x (AFs)} x cpp x (Tc-Tex)] / HHV

47
Where Tca is the temperature of the combustion air before it enters the burner, and Tex is
the temperature of the exhaust gasses.

The spreadsheet below is an output screen from CombEff.xls for the combustion of
atmospheric air with natural gas. CombEff.xls incorporates combustion chemical
equations and heat energy balances to calculate combustion efficiency. The current
efficiencies of smelters No. 3 and 600 are calculated to be about 39 % as shown in the
table below.

The use of oxy-fuel would reduce the air fuel ratio for stochiometric (complete)
combustion to 4 lb-oxygen/lb-ng by eliminating nitrogen in the combustion equation
above. The spreadsheet below shows the efficiency of the smelters with oxy-fire burners
would increase to about 76%, assuming an oxygen fuel ratio of 4 lb-oxygen/lb-ng and
that the excess air for combustion remains the same at 5%.

48
The graph below demonstrates the combustion efficiency improvement from using pure
O2 as the oxidizer in natural gas combustion. According to the graph, the efficiency is
about 69% for a flue gas exist temperature of 2,550 F. This number is comparable to our
calculated efficiency of 76%. For this analysis, the calculated efficiency of 76 % will be
used.

Source: North American Combustion Handbook 3rd ed. North American Manufacturing
Company. 1995

According to management’s records, smelters No.3 and 600 use about 15,144 mmBtu per
year. Thus, the annual natural gas savings would be about:

## 15,144 mmBtu/year x [1 – (39% / 76%)] = 7,373 mmBtu/year

7,373 mmBtu/year x \$10.30 /mmBtu = \$75,942 /year

The annual natural gas used in smelters No.3 and 600 would be about:

## 15,144 mmBtu/year – 7,373 mmBtu/year = 7,771 mmBtu/year

For stoichiometric combustion, four lb of oxygen is needed for one lb of natural gas. If
smelters No.3 and 600 operated at 5% excess oxygen, the annual mass of oxygen used

49
7,771 mmBtu/year / 23,900 Btu/lb-NG x 4 lb-O2 /lb-NG x 105% = 1,365,615 lb/year

At standard conditions, the density of oxygen is 0.0827 lb/ft3. Thus, the annual volume
of oxygen used by smelters No.3 and 600 would be about:

## 1,365,615 lb/year / 0.0827 lb/ ft3 / 100 ft3/ccf = 165,129 ccf/year

According to the billing statements provided by management listed in the table below, the
total cost of oxygen is \$0.40 /ccf.

## 7,373 mmBtu/year x 117 lb CO2/mmBtu / (2,205 lb/tonne) ≈ 391 tonnes-CO2 /year

These results shown above are based on our understanding of the processes. However,
we note that from September to December, total expenditures for oxygen for the two
current oxy-fire burners were about \$6,245, which suggests an annual cost for oxygen of
about \$25,000. We estimate that the annual cost of oxygen for two additional burners
would be about \$66,052 per year. We don’t understand the nature of this discrepancy.
Thus, we suggest that you review our analysis carefully before using it to make
investment decisions.

## Estimated Implementation Cost

According to management, it would cost about \$150,000 to convert smelters No.3 and
600 to use oxy-fuel. We assume that \$100,000 would be material and \$50,000 would be
labor.

50
Estimated Simple Payback
(\$150,000 / \$9,890 /year) x 12 months/year = 182 months

51