Clean Fossil Fuels

Vertical Combustor

The Vertical Combustor

Our vertical combuster is the largest, most advanced facility of its kind in world. Studies improved ways of capturing CO2 to reduce greenhouse gases and decrease emissions of acid rain precursors, i.e. SOx, NOx and flyash from coal combustion. Flue gas recycling offers a means of capturing CO2 without having to dilute the product gases with nitrogen and avoids the need for gas separation after combustion. CanmetENERGY’s 1 million BTU/hr vertical combustor operates at temperatures of up to 1800oC. The facility is highly flexible. Designed to burn coal, natural gas or oil and can be modified for other fuels.

Flame Research Tunnel Furnace

The furnace was conceived as a versatile facility for the study of combustion aerodynamics, burner performance and the characterization of pollutants in relation to flame properties and of heat transfer from flames. It is 5.25 metres long and one metre in diameter. Although in most trials the facility is operated at a nominal value of about 1.5 GJ/h and controlled at a 3% or 5% excess oxygen level in flue gas, the furnace was designed for a thermal input of 0.7 MW (2.5 GJ/h) and can be fired with a wide range of flame performance conditions.

Pilot-scale Research Boiler

Our research boiler is a U-shaped furnace with a vertical refractory-lined shaft and vertical steam boiler connected at the bottom through a horizontal refractory-lined tunnel. It is fired by opposing twin burners which can be located in 3 basic positions, known as the I, J, or U configuration. The furnace is normally operated at about 1.5 GJ/h in order to reduce the overall fuel consumption requirement for each test.

Fuels Assessment and Emissions Lab

One of the key research areas is the assessment and development of combustion technologies for various fuels including renewable and unconventional fuels for clean and efficient energy production. Our researchers have developed new assessment methodologies and established combustion characteristics of conventional petroleum residual fuel oils, biodiesels and biofuels, just to name a few.

Another focused area is the development of novel methodologies for toxic emission measurements. Our team developed a new on-line real-time measurement of mercury species measurement methodology for emission monitoring at coal-fired power plants and a new source dilution measurement for PM 2.5 that provides realistic air pollution data that is comparable to the urban ambient particulate matter we breathe.

Fluidized Bed Combustor

The combustor exploits the combination of high efficiency combustion of low-grade fuels with reduced emissions of sulphur and nitrogen oxides (SOx and Nox ). This particular laboratory has specialized equipment necessary for fluidized bed combustion research such as a pilot-scale circulating fluidized-bed combustor with a bed area of about 0.12m2 and a pilot-scale (0.78m2) bubbling bed combustor to study corrosion, erosion and the fate of trace metals in feedstocks. The bubbling fluidized bed unit is designed to operate at temperatures up to 1100 ºC and at superficial gas velocity up to 2m/s.

CARS Laser

We have developed a non-intrusive measurement technique, known as Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy (CARS), for monitoring flame temperature and identifying chemical species in flames. The technique can readily assist manufacturers in designing burner systems for the combustion of a wide range of solid and gaseous fuels.

CARS uses laser beams to measure the temperature and species concentration non-intrusively at any point in a flame envelope. The laser shows precisely what is happening inside each element of a flame, even when conditions are changing rapidly over a short span within the flame envelope. This capability is quite unlike the conventional, intrusive sampling probes, which can disturb the chemistry of the flame and distort the results sought.

Computer Modeling Lab

A sophisticated combustion simulation capability is available to serve industrial needs. This modelling capability can be used to predict the service performance of combustion equipment, including combustion characteristics, NOx emissions, fuel consumption, heat transfer and fluid flow. We are committed to the advancement of combustion simulation technology through collaboration with the private sector and the research community.

Our combustion simulation capability is the product of 20 years of research and collaboration with academa and commercial software developers. Its development is based on work initiated at the University of London’s Imperial College, the University of Waterloo and ANSYS Canada Ltd. It can simulate performance of utility boilers, industrial furnaces, combustors or kilns of any geometry using a wide variety of fuels.


Our vertical combustor is the largest, most advanced facility of its kind in world. Studies improved ways of capturing CO2 to reduce greenhouse gases and decrease emissions of acid rain precursors, i.e. SOx, NOx and flyash from coal combustion.

Gasification Facility

We house Canada’s foremost R&D gasification facility. Gasification technologies represent the next generation of solid feedstock based energy production systems. Gasification breaks down nearly any carbon-based material into its basic components. This enables the separation of pollutants and greenhouse gases to produce clean gas for efficient electricity generation, production of chemicals, hydrogen and clean liquid fuels.

Flare Test Facility

Its main goal is to characterize combustion efficiency and emissions generated from existing flares while burning waste gas at oil wells. Wind conditions and flare gas composition influence flare performance. Due to poor mixing of air and flare gas, the existing flares generate high levels of pollutants. In Alberta alone there are over 5,000 such flare stacks. CanmetENERGY’s flare test facility can evaluate existing as well as advanced flare tips to improve combustion and reduce emissions.

The facility can closely simulate actual flares. Essentially it is a wind tunnel where combustion from the flare stack takes place. All gaseous emissions are captured and accurately measured. The facility is very flexible - equipped with variable speed fans it can simulate different wind conditions; test a range of flare stack diameters and heights; and have a varied flare gas composition. Firing conditions are fully automated and all parameters are computer monitored.

Rotary Kiln

The pilot-scale kiln is ideally suited for process improvement studies in the areas of waste combustion and Hg emissions; minerals roasting, sintering, and calcining; and thermal drying of solid fuels, slurries, and concentrates. The rotary kiln is 4.27 metres long with an inside diameter of 0.41 metres and an outside diameter of 0.66 metres. The material of the inside lining is a high-temperature erosion-resistant, castable refractory that can withstand temperatures up to 1200oC. The kiln is fitted with lifting bars made also from refractory material to expedite continuous movement of the feed through the kiln and to achieve good contact between gas and solids.

Cold Plasma Unit

We aim to develop the lab-scale Plasma Corona Radical Shower PCRS technology into robust and economically optimized industrial solutions for controlling SO2, NOx, and Hg emissions. The facility is equipped with a gravimetric pulverized coal feeder, a downward-firing coal furnace operating at 100,000 Btu/h, water jacket heat exchangers, baghouse, a PCRS reactor, a high-efficiency electrostatic precipitator (ESP), an induced draft fan, an automated firing and monitoring control system, and gas and particulate matter analyzers.