As emissions standards around the world become stricter, companies continue to search for methods of reducing the NOX and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from their processes. At the same time, manufacturers in the process industries must focus on continually improving efficiency and reducing overall fuel usage. Much like in the automotive industry — where manufacturers are required to improve vehicle fuel efficiency — manufacturers in the process industries are given specific emissions requirements for their thermal processes. They must meet them or risk heavy penalties.
Reducing emissions in process heating applications can be difficult because making heat requires fuel, oxygen (O2) and an ignition source. Many industrial heating applications use natural gas, which is a hydrocarbon such as CH4. The basic ingredients — oxygen and fuel — follow a simple combustion reaction: