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Heating and cooling that’s simply more sustainable

Oilon International Oy
The Oilon Group has made a global name for itself in the field of gas, oil, and dual-fuel burners for a wide range of applications during more than half a century of operations. Following its acquisition of Scancool, Oilon now offers an even wider range of solutions for industrial heating and cooling.

Oilon has always prioritised excellent efficiency, reliable operations, high-performance combustion, and low emissions in its burner designs. Reducing emissions and incorporating higher levels of intelligent automation are seen as particularly important, and the company’s emission control-related R&D has resulted in an extensive range of eco-friendly products.

This expertise has seen the company establish a significant position for itself on numerous markets worldwide – developing, manufacturing, and delivering burners for district heating plants, ships, power plants, waste incineration units, and industrial processes, as well as heat pumps for heating and cooling applications.

Renewables-based solutions

Oilon’s new ULTRAX burner is available in the 25-80 MW range.
Oilon has been at the forefront of developing burners for renewable fuels such as biogas, pine oil, and bio-methanol. Pyrolysis oil – produced from solid biomass such as corn, straw, rice husk, or forest residue – offers a particularly promising alternative to fossil fuels and for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The high water content and corrosive nature of this oil, however, puts heavy demands on burners. Oilon has worked in cooperation with technology developers in the field for close to 15 years to overcome this problem, and is now able to offer the world’s first commercial products for pyrolysis oil combustion across a wide power range.

Recent tests in Finland – carried out together with leading technology providers and using Oilon’s latest products – have been very successful.

Combatting NOx

Oilon has also recently launched a new power plant and process burner capable of meeting even the most stringent NOx emission limits envisaged in upcoming legislation, such as the EU’s industrial emissions directive.

The advanced design of the new ULTRA X burner is the outcome of extensive laboratory and full-scale testing and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) computer simulation. Staged combustion ensures that the fuel and air mix is optimal, resulting in low NOx emissions and a compact flame geometry. Where particularly low emission levels are required, external flue gas recirculation is available as an option and reduces NOx levels even further.

Revolutionary new EcoPower burner

One of the most exciting recent fruits of Oilon’s R&D is the unique EcoPower burner. This revolutionary new design is suitable for liquid and gaseous fuels, and can be used with both large and small boilers.

Capable of producing the air needed for combustion without the use of a separate fan, EcoPower burners require very little electricity, as little as 1 kW in some cases. As a result, a 10 MW EcoPower burner can save tens of thousands of euros in annual running costs, whatever the fuel used.

EcoPower burners can be used with all conventional boilers, and the unique technology behind them makes it possible to design significantly smaller furnaces, making them a very attractive option in locations where space is at a premium, such as city centres. The EcoPower design also offers substantially lower noise levels than conventional burners, as well as low particulate and NOx emissions.

The first EcoPower burners have been in commercial use in extremely harsh industrial conditions for more than five years and have proved very reliable.

Making more of low-value fuel

Gases with a very low calorific value, such as blast furnace gas, used to go to waste because developing the burner and combustion technology needed was not seen as sufficiently cost-effective. Things are changing, however, not least because of the work that Oilon has done in this area and the energy-related cost savings and environmental benefits on offer.

Oilon’s expertise in combustion, together with its laboratory and CFD resources, have proved invaluable here; and as a result, the company is now able to offer solutions for low-calorific value fuels of any kind. The success of this technology was highlighted recently when Oilon won a contract to supply burners for five boilers – fired on blast furnace gas with a calorific value of just 2.9 MJ/Nm3 – at a steel plant operated by the world’s largest steel producer.

A Scancool 1.7 MW wastewater heat pump container ready for delivery to a customer in Russia.

Pooled expertise

The acquisition of Scancool – Finland’s leading specialist in cooling technology for more than 25 years and an industrial cooling and heat pump expert – has strengthened Oilon’s position in the heat pump business and opened up new opportunities for developing the Group’s cooling business and expanding into new markets.

Scancool’s cooling and heat pump technology enables waste heat to be recovered from numerous industrial processes very efficiently and recycled for industrial use or district heating. Its heat pumps, for example, are ideal for a wide range of uses in textile plants, food and dairy manufacturing, brewing, chemicals, wastewater treatment, and pulp and paper.

Scancool’s High Heat Pump (HHP) technology opens up even more opportunities, as it can produce high-temperature water from lowtemperature waste heat very efficiently without the significant cost premium typically associated with the specialist components normally required by heat pumps operating in the 70-80 °C range.

This will enable cost-effective heat pump technology to be used in industry and energy generation to a much greater extent than has been feasible to date, reducing the need for fossil and other fuels.

Scancool has been able to commercialise this technology very quickly and across a wide range of sizes, with very low costs per MWh. A Scancool heat pump can achieve savings of up to 80% in terms of costs and reduced greenhouse gas (CO2) effect, for example, while requiring only 20-35% of the energy input needed by a conventional heating system to achieve the same level of output.

> Tero Tulokas
(Published in HighTech Finland 2013)