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Effect of Nitrogen and Oxygen Concentration on NOx Emissions in an Aluminum Furnace

[+] Author Affiliations
Brian Golchert

Fluent, Inc.

Paul Ridenour, William Walker, Naresh K. Selvarasu, Mingyan Gu, Chenn Q. Zhou

Purdue University Calumet

Paper No. IMECE2006-15693, pp. 323-333; 11 pages
  • ASME 2006 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Energy Conversion and Resources
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, November 5 – 10, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4783-7 | eISBN: 0-7918-3790-4
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


For many aluminum melting furnaces, natural gas is mixed with air. The ensuing heat from combustion is then used to melt the solid aluminum and heat the liquid metal. Of increasing concern to the industry are the more stringent regulations in regard to NOx emissions from these plants. The formation of NOx mainly depends on the concentration of nitrogen and the temperature of the gas. One problem that affects this formation that has not been adequately addressed is the variability of the local natural gas supply. Natural gas has molecular nitrogen as a portion of its composition. This percentage ranges from approximately one to seven percent of the total mass fraction. In addition, the aluminum industry is investigating methods to reduce NOx emissions. One method is to replace some of the combustion air with pure oxygen. This reduces the amount of nitrogen coming into the furnace, but also raises the combustion temperature which could promote NOx production. This paper details a systematic computational fluid dynamics study on how the variability of the nitrogen concentration coupled with the partial replacement of air with pure oxygen affects heat transfer and pollutant formation in an aluminum furnace. Trends will be discussed as will the ideal oxygen concentration for a given nitrogen mass fraction.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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