NOx Emission Limits in a Fuel-Flexible and Defossilized Industry—Quo Vadis?

As a result of parts of our work in HYINHEAT we are happy to announce that the first peer-reviewed publication (open-access) in the journal Energies was just published.


The reduction of CO2 emissions in hard-to-abate industries is described in several proposals on the European and National levels. In order to meet the defined goals, the utilization of sustainable, non-fossil fuels for process heat generation in industrial furnaces needs to be intensified. The focus mainly lies on hydrogen (H2) and its derivates. Furthermore, biofuels, e.g., dimethyl ether (DME), are considered. Besides possible changes in the process itself when substituting natural gas (NG) with alternative fuels, the emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx) is a major topic of interest. In current European standards and regulations, the NOx emissions are specified in mg per m3 of dry off-gas and refer to a reference oxygen concentration. Within this study, this limit specification is investigated for its suitability for the use of various fuel-oxidizer combinations in industrial combustion applications. Natural gas is used as a reference, while hydrogen and DME are considered sustainable alternatives. Air and pure oxygen (O2) are considered oxidizers. It is shown that the current specification, which is built on the use of fossil fuels, leads to non-comparable values for alternative fuels. Therefore, alternative NOx limit definitions are discussed in detail. The most suitable alternative was found to be mg per kWh. This limit specification is finally being investigated for its compliance with current regulations on various aspects of Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems.


Nico Schmitz, Lukas Sankowski, Elsa Busson, Thomas Echterhof, and Herbert Pfeifer
Department for Industrial Furnaces and Heat Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany

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