What Is a Combustion Analyzer? – Expert Answer

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What Is a Combustion Analyzer

Ever had a moment where you could not decide whether your equipment was underperforming or not? It worked fine upon first glance, but you seemed to be burning through more fuel to get the same amount of work done. The above point lead to a decrease in efficiency. So, how do we measure that?

Using the best combustion analyzer, of course. But what is a combustion analyzer?
By measuring a set number of parameters, a combustion analyzer helps us to monitor, and, of course, ascertain the efficiency of our fuel-burning equipment. Let us take a solid peek as to how that works.

The Science Behind Combustion Analyzers

The Science Behind Combustion Analyzers

Now, the main aspect or rather the parameter that these combustion analyzers detect and measure is the flue gas content.

Flue gas is a mixture of different gases, which are the byproducts of the fuel burning process. Thus, measuring the content of this gas is a good indication of efficiency.

Key Terms

That was a very basic explanation. In reality, the metrics and measures are a fair bit more complex. Thus, before we proceed forwards, we need to acquaint ourselves with several key terms.

Combustion Efficiency

It’s an indication or metric of how well the fuel is burnt by the relevant fuel burning equipment.

Stoichiometric Combustion

This is a completely theoretical assumption. It assumes that there is optimal heat produced through the optimal mix of fuel and air to give us the best possible combustion efficiency.

Differential or Draft Pressure

It’s the difference between pressure within your fuel burning equipment and the atmospheric pressure. This metric is used in identifying problems and measuring efficiency.

Thermocouples

These are basic temperature sensors that make use of a junction between two wires made out of different metals.

The Parameters Measured

Before the combustion analyzer could carry out the relevant calculations to determine the current standing of your burner, the various sensors need to measure the data across several parameters.

These parameters can often be an exhaustive list, so we noted down the general ones. They are;

Combustion Air Temperature: It’s the pre-combustion air temperature.
Dew Point: The pressure and temperature point at which the vapor condenses into liquid water.
Differential Pressure: Pressure difference within the burner and the pressure surrounding the unit.
Individual Gas Temperature: The individual gases that makeup flue gas; their temperatures are also measured.

The metrics above are the overall parameters. There is an entire range of other measures that do not necessarily fall into the above parameters but are still integral to the calculation of the overall efficiency of your trusty combustion burner.

Also, the analyzers measure the overall oxygen level going into your burner, the composition pre-combustion, and of course, the remaining oxygen composition post-combustion.

These measures are also extended to the levels of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, and of course, carbon dioxide.

How Do Combustion Analyzers Work?

How Do Combustion Analyzers Work

Like we have already established beforehand, these combustion analyzers basically look at the flue gas content in your combustion burner.

The analyzer uses combustion metrics as calculations, which assume that the fuel burnt, be it oil, coal, or gas, undergoes complete stoichiometric combustion.

Step 1: Stochiometric Combustion Assumption

In normal atmospheric conditions, complete stochiometric combustions are quite rare. However, the working pressure inside these combustion burners is anything but atmospheric. We get results very close to perfect stochiometric combustions.

Step 2: Measuring the Subtleties

That being said, the analyzer metric also accounts for nuances in fuel chemistry and the overall temperature of the stack gases. The oxygen percentage by volume is also an important metric.

Step 3: Measuring the Stacked Gases

Next, the stacked gases are measured with regard to the water vapor. As the dilution occurs, the trace total of the combustion gas (oxygen and fuel) is tallied whilst also keeping note of the nitrogen and carbon dioxide levels.

Step 4: The Final Calculations

As the dilution of the water vapor takes place, the necessary calculations are carried out. The ratio of fuel to air, pressure differences, temperatures, all fall into this equation.

Remember, we mentioned a line regarding tallying the trace totals of gases? Yep, that comes in handy too.

All of the above helps the combustion analyzer to compute and put out a result that is an indication of how efficient your combustion burner is.

These number also helps us ascertain whether or not our burner is underperforming and needs some fine-tuning.

Why Are These Combustion Analyzers Used in the First Place?

The capabilities of these combustion analyzers often extend far beyond just providing a metric for the efficiency of your combustion system.

They could be used to improve your boiler’s efficiency and help ascertain points where possible energy savings could be had.

Having one in place could also help you to enhance the worker’s safety in workspaces. As they measure the component composition of the stack gases, they could be used to help in improving the overall air quality.

Choosing a Combustion Analyzer for Yourself

Initially, these combustion analyzers were rather large and cumbersome. Heavy and most often enclosed in a protective casing, these analyzers came with analog displays (mechanical displays using needle pointers).

However, modern technology allowed us to come up with analyzers that are more lightweight in nature.

These days, they are composed of plastic housing that covers the sensitive innards and comes with easy to read digital dials. These are designed to be uber-portable for use out in the fields.

Only Get the Features You Need

Now, coming to selecting the best combustion analyzer for your particular use, you ought to figure out the components you want and need measured, for example, the number of gas components.

Direct In-Situ or Extractive Analyzers

Both have their merits-demerits, but the basic differentiation is that one measures out the essentials from within the burner, and the other extracts the necessary elements and measures out the parameters outside the burner.

Final Word

And that’s basically all there is to these combustion analyzers. We hope we were able to answer “what is a combustion analyzer” and give you all the necessary knowledge pertaining to how these analyzers function and their purpose.

Do refer back to this article, in case of any confusion. With that, we are at the end of the queue. Catch us in our next piece of informative writing.
Till then, peace out.

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