Industrial Heating Experts Speak Blog

Energy vs. Safety - Trade-offs and Risks (part 1)

August 13, 2012
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

The popular media promote a plethora of energy-reduction ideas for consumers (light bulbs, thermostats, screen savers, weather stripping, etc.) and precious few for industry. Since industry consumes 33% of the natural gas, 25% of the renewable energy, 23% of the petroleum and 8% of the coal produced in the U.S. (2011 statistics), this absence might appear to be a major lapse in editorial judgment by the pop-culture pundits.

On the contrary, energy reduction in the industrial sector, while rich with money-saving potential, usually involves a higher level of nuance and narrower applicability than the common denominators typically understood by mass media and the public. In industry, the bulk of energy goes into processes – many of which are chemically and mechanically complex and involve safeguards that must not be disregarded. Below are some examples of how higher levels of risk may accompany energy-saving process changes.

Exhaust-Gas Heat Recovery
Adding a recuperative or regenerative heat exchanger to a combustion process can save energy by preheating the combustion air and simultaneously reducing the temperature of wasted exhaust gases. However, there are risks associated with these process changes in some systems, including burner instabilities due to excessive turndown or disproportionately high temperatures if firing rate can’t be turned down safely.

Exhaust-Gas Flow Reduction
Flue-gas recirculation (FGR) and oxygen-enriched combustion are two contrasting methods for reducing waste of hot gas exhausted to atmosphere. Oxygen-enriched combustion reduces the nitrogen content in the exhaust stream and thereby eliminates the waste of a significant portion of the hot gas stream. In order to transfer the same amount of heat to the load, however, the resulting higher flame temperatures are capable of damaging the burner or furnace. Conversely, FGR is capable of delivering the same amount of heat to a load with reduced exhaust-gas waste and without excessive flame temperatures. Unfortunately, FGR reduces oxygen in the furnace and may cause flame instabilities, nuisance shutdowns or worse.  
You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

2013 Product Roundup

The Product Roundup is a showcase of some of the best products and technologies the thermal-processing industry has to offer.  Industrial Heating has rounded up these advanced, energy-efficient and cost-effective items in one special section  for easy reference.


The Heat Treat Doctor, Dan Herring, and IH Editor Reed Miller get together each month to talk technical. July’s podcast features a discussion about exothermic atmospheres. Sponsored by:

More Podcasts

Industrial Heating

Cover Image

2014 July

July's issue of Industrial Heating features a look into the changes that are coming to EMF Regulators, as well as a story detailing the Houston Heat Treat.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Website Sections Poll

What section of our website have you visited most frequently?
View Results Poll Archive


Everyday Metallurgy

If you have ever wished there was something people could read to help them better understand what you do, this is the book for you.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

CS-OflRGB1.gifWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Employment Marketplace

Employment Marketplace


Updated FacebookTwitter imageYoutube IconLinkedin Icon