Low NOx burner: 50% reduction in NOx emissions

Complexo de Tubarão


Sustainability and Innovation in Mining


Sustainability and innovation are the keywords in the industry currently, and considering this, ATS has positioned itself at the forefront of sustainable development. An example that confirms ATS’s position is the innovative project of a Low NOx burner, which achieved a 50% reduction in NOx emissions during the iron ore pelletizing process at Vale.


comparison between low nox burner and original burner
Comparison between NOx generation in the original burner vs the low NOx burner


But what makes this burner such an innovative solution? The answer lies in the use of advanced computational simulation in conjunction with traditional engineering methodologies for the Analysis of Pelletizing Furnaces and Burner Design, Combustion Analysis, and its Emissions, as depicted in more detail in the two pages mentioned earlier in this paragraph.


In this way, it was possible to understand the process of NOx generation in the pelletizing furnaces of the Usina 8 in the Tubarão Complex and develop a burner capable of significantly reducing pollutant gas emissions without compromising the process’s performance.


Development of the Low NOx burner


The development of ATS’s Low NOx burner for Vale involved the use of various software in its stages, such as the creation of the 3D model, design of the combustion mechanism, mesh generation, CFD solution, visualization, and analysis of the results. The NASA CEA (Chemical Equilibrium with Applications), a software for calculating chemical equilibrium compositions and properties of complex mixtures, was used to obtain thermodynamic and chemical information on combustion gasses, Solidworks for 3D modeling of the burner, and Kintech Lab, a software for kinetic and thermodynamic evaluation, for simulating the combustion mechanism.


ATS Working Process with CFD
ATS Working Process with CFD


For the CFD simulation process, were used three vitals software:


  • Ennova Meshing: a mesh generation software that allows the creation of an accurate and refined mesh for CFD simulation.
  • Metacomp CFD++: a fluid simulation software that allowed carrying out CFD simulations based on the mesh created by Ennova Meshing.
  • Tecplot 360ex: software for visualization and analysis of CFD simulation results, which was used to analyze the results obtained from Metacomp CFD++.


The combustion mechanism was developed based on chemical equilibrium models, which allow the prediction of the chemical species present in the gasses as a function of temperature, pressure, and fuel composition. These models were adapted to the operational conditions of the Vale Pelletizing Plant in Tubarão, which allowed the simulation of the combustion process of the Low NOx burner with great precision.


After the creation of the 3D model, mesh generation, and CFD solution, tests of the Low NOx burner were carried out in operation in Vale’s pelletizing furnaces. During the tests, the most favorable conditions for significant reductions in NOx with low impact on gas consumption and productivity were identified.


Positive Results for the Environment and Industry


The results obtained were extremely positive, with predicted NOx reductions of up to 54%. The Low NOx burner effectively reduced 30% to 52%.


Queimador low NOx
Operational test of the low NOx burner.


These results demonstrate the success of ATS’s Low NOx project for Vale in applying cutting-edge technology and simulation to reduce emissions of pollutant gasses in industrial processes. This reduction helps to comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations.


The project was also developed for Samarco, where it obtained equally satisfactory results. Demonstrating that investing in cleaner and more sustainable technologies is essential for the future of mining and other heavy industries, and projects like Low NOx show that it is possible to reconcile economic development with environmental responsibility.

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