Fire: a basic requirement for the survival of our species. To make fire, all you need is a source of fuel, an ignition source and some oxygen. And there you have it, a very inefficient fire, producing a great deal of smoke and wasting most of the available of heat. This may be very pleasant around the camp-fire but it’s far from ideal in the home!
We now live in a world where resources are dwindling. Put simply, there are fewer things left for us to burn. We are also, quite rightly, concerned about what we are putting back into the atmosphere so we have to be careful how we burn the fuel we have left.
Bioenergy is certainly one of the answers but, just because it is a “renewable” energy source, that does not mean we can afford to be wasteful with it. For example, in order to maximise return on investment in the installation of a new industrial boiler, running costs need to be kept to a minimum.
Clearly, the design of the boiler will have a considerable effect not only on combustion efficiency but will also help minimise emissions. However, the best way to achieve both of these goals: squeeze the greatest amount of energy from any fuel, while keeping harmful emissions to an absolute minimum, is by monitoring the flue gases and controlling the combustion process accordingly.
According to Carbon Trust, the air to fuel ratio within the boiler flue is one of the main factors affecting boiler efficiency. The technology of air to fuel ratio is set during commissioning and over time this tends to drift due to the changes in the fuels calorific value, combustion air temperature and control electronics. As a result of this, the boiler uses more energy to burn more fuel, causing increased emissions and increased costs. Studies illustrate that if you have a large, continuously operating boiler plant, you are likely to save at least 5% and recoup your costs within 2 years.
Many boiler manufacturers have discovered the benefit of using oxygen sensors also known as oxygen trim systems to optimise the process of burning fuel. That is not only good for the environment but also for the end-user’s pocket.
The oxygen sensor system is inserted directly into the boiler flue which is connected to a control panel that continuously monitors the oxygen concentration enabling complete control over the boilers air to fuel ratio. Meaning that factors influencing drift within the boilers environment such as barometric pressure and high temperature do not force the boiler to run less efficiently that it is capable of.
Zirconium Dioxide (ZrO2) sensors are the most common type of sensor used in the field and the sensors from SST Sensing Ltd have been used reliably in boiler exhaust gases for over 25 years. This is a dynamic oxygen cell product and it is rapidly gaining popularity in the field. The fully porous, stainless steel cap allows a free flow of the flue gases to reach the sensor, while trapping any soot or debris which might lead to sensor malfunction. Unlike other types of sensors, which can quickly become inaccurate as this build-up occurs, SST’s sensors will last for years even in badly regulated combustion processes before the dirt and pollution has any effect.
Why Use SST’s Zirconia Oxygen Systems?
- Reliability and accuracy are required,
- Robustness in harsh environments is essential,
- Calibration, if necessary, is easily performed,
- Resistance to carbon deposits and other pollutants is vital,
- Increasing efficiency and minimising emissions is fundamental,
SST Sensing’s range of sensors and analysers meets all of the above requirements with ease. They are accurate to within a fraction of a percent of reading, robust and reliable enough that they have been used for many years on aircraft and are extremely easy to calibrate when necessary. Our high quality analysers, combined with our excellent customer service and strong commitment to protecting the environment, are the foundations for SST Sensing’s growing success.
To be cost effective, oxygen control systems are really designed for large boilers of over 500kW of output. They can work with natural gas, LPG, oil-fired and dual fuel burners.
For more information on SST’s Zirconia Oxygen Sensor Systems, please Ask Our Sensor Experts Today! for their advice.