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ClearSign Patents






US2013230811
INERTIAL ELECTRODE AND SYSTEM CONFIGURED FOR ELECTRODYNAMIC INTERACTION WITH A VOLTAGE-BIASED FLAME
     
A combustion system includes a subsystem for electrically biasing or charging a flame and a virtual electrode launcher configured to launch a virtual electrode in proximity to the flame or combustion gas produced by the flame.

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application claims priority benefit from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/605,693, entitled “INERTIAL ELECTRODE AND SYSTEM CONFIGURED FOR ELECTRODYNAMIC INTERACTION WITH A VOLTAGE-BIASED FLAME”, filed Mar. 1, 2012; which, to the extent not inconsistent with the disclosure herein, is incorporated by reference.

SUMMARY

[0002] According to an embodiment, a burner system may include a burner configured to support a flame or a combustion gas stream produced by the flame and a flame charger configured to create a majority of charged particles having a first sign within at least a portion of the flame or the combustion gas stream produced by the flame to provide a charged. The embodiment may further include at least one inertial electrode launcher that may be configured to launch an inertial electrode in proximity to the flame or the combustion gas stream produced by the flame. The inertial electrode may include charged particles, may include particles selected to accept a charge, or may carry a voltage. The charged particles, charge accepting particles, or voltage may be selected to interact with the charged particles having the first sign carried by the flame or a combustion gas stream produced by the flame.

[0003] According to another embodiment, a method for operating a burner system may include supporting a flame with a burner and launching an inertial electrode in proximity to the flame or to a combustion gas produced by the flame. At least a portion of the flame or the combustion gas stream produced by the flame may be caused to carry a majority charge. The virtual electrode may include charged particles, particles selected to accept a charge, or a carried voltage. The particles or voltage may be selected to interact with the majority charge carried by the flame or the combustion gas stream produced by the flame.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] FIG. 1 is a diagram of a burner system supporting a flame and including a flame charger configured to provide a charged flame and at least one inertial electrode launcher configured to launch an inertial electrode in proximity to the charged flame, according to an embodiment.

[0005] FIG. 2 is a diagram of an inertial electrode launcher including an inertial electrode burner configured to at least intermittently or periodically support a flame inertial electrode, according to an embodiment.

[0006] FIG. 3 is a diagram of an inertial electrode launcher configured to apply a voltage-biased potential to a vaporizing material to produce an inertial electrode including vapor, aerosol, or vapor and aerosol of the vaporizing material carrying charged particles, according to an embodiment.

[0007] FIG. 4 is a diagram of an inertial electrode launcher configured to project charged or charge-accepting solid particles forming an inertial electrode to a location proximate the flame, according to an embodiment.

[0008] FIG. 5 is a diagram of an inertial electrode launcher configured to expel a fluid carrying charged particles or conducting a voltage, the fluid forming an inertial electrode, according to an embodiment.

[0009] FIG. 6 is a flow chart showing a method for operating a burner system including an inertial electrode, according to an embodiment.



DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0010] In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof. In the drawings, similar symbols typically identify similar components, unless context dictates otherwise. The illustrative embodiments described in the detailed description, drawings, and claims are not meant to be limiting. Other embodiments may be utilized, and other changes may be made, without departing from the spirit or scope of the subject matter presented here.

[0011] FIG. 1 is a diagram of a burner system 101 including a burner 102 configured to support a flame 104, a flame charger 106 configured to apply a voltage or charge to the flame 104, and an inertial electrode launcher 110, according to an embodiment. The flame charger 106 may include a depletion electrode configured to at least intermittently or periodically attract charged particles having a second sign 108b to create at least a portion of the flame 104 having a majority of charged particles having a first sign 108a. Additionally or alternatively, the flame charger 106 may be configured to add charged particles having the first sign 108a. For example, the flame charger may include a corona electrode (not shown) configured to eject charged ions 108a toward the flame 104. In another example, the flame charger 106 may include an ionizer (not shown) configured to add charge to the flame 104, to a fuel (not shown) supporting the flame 104, or to air or other oxidizer (not shown) that supports the flame 104.

[0012] At least one inertial electrode launcher 110 may be configured to launch an inertial electrode 112 in proximity to the flame 104. The inertial electrode 112 may include charged particles 114 or particles 114 selected to accept a charge. Additionally or alternatively, the inertial electrode 112 may carry a voltage. The charged particles, charge accepting particles, or voltage may be selected to interact with the charged particles having the first sign 108a carried by the flame 104 or a combustion gas stream 116 produced by the flame 104. The flame charger 106 may be integrated with the burner 102, or may be separate from the burner 102. The inertial electrode 112 may include charged particles 114 that are selected to attract or selected to repel the charged particles having the first sign 108a.

[0013] The inertial electrode launcher 110 may be configured to impart momentum onto the inertial electrode 112. According to an embodiment, the launched inertial electrode may exhibit fluid dynamic properties that are momentum dominated. The charged particles having the first sign 108a carried by the flame 104 or the combustion gas stream 116 may be selected to respond to the momentum carried by the inertial electrode 112. According to an embodiment, a region of the flame having fluid dynamic properties that are buoyancy dominated may respond to the inertial electrode.

[0014] An electrode driver 118 may be configured to drive, i.e., to control and operate, one or more of the functions or operations performed by each of the flame charger 106 and of the inertial electrode launcher 110. The electrode driver 118 may be configured to periodically or intermittently change the first sign of the charged particles 108a carried by the flame 104 or the combustion gas stream 116. The electrode driver 118 may also be configured to periodically or intermittently change a sign of the charged particles 114 carried by the inertial electrode 112. In an embodiment using a flame charger 106 that is a depletion electrode, the electrode driver may be configured to periodically or intermittently change the second sign of charged particles 108b attracted by the depletion electrode 106. Changing the sign of the particles 108b attracted by the depletion electrode 106 may also change the first sign of the charged particles 108a carried by the flame 104 or the combustion gas stream 116. The first and second signs may be opposite of each other.

[0015] The burner 102 may include a fuel source 120 configured to provide fuel for the flame 104. An insulator or gap 122 may be configured to isolate the flame charger 106 from ground or another voltage. The burner 102 may also include a flame holder 124 configured to hold the flame.

[0016] Various inertial electrode launchers 110 and inertial electrodes 112 are contemplated. According to embodiments, an inertial electrode launcher 110 may be configured to launch the inertial electrode 112 through an aperture in an insulating refractory, such as a furnace, boiler, or burner body (not shown).

[0017] FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment where the inertial electrode launcher 110 includes an inertial electrode burner 202. The inertial electrode burner 202 may be configured to at least intermittently or periodically support a flame inertial electrode 112. The inertial electrode launcher 110 may include an inertial electrode launcher charger 204, such as a depletion electrode 204 configured to attract from the flame inertial electrode 112 charges having a fourth sign 206 to create a majority of charged particles having a third sign 114 in the flame inertial electrode 112. The fourth sign of the charge carried by the charged particles 206 attracted from the flame inertial electrode 112 by the inertial electrode launcher depletion electrode 204 (to produce the majority of charged particles having the third sign 114 in the flame inertial electrode 112) may be the same as the second sign of the charge carried by the charged particles 108b attracted from the flame 104 by the depletion electrode 106 (to produce the majority of charged particles the first sign 108a in the flame 104). Accordingly, the first and third signs of the charges carried by the respective majority charged particles 108a, 114 in the flame 104 and the inertial electrode 112 may be the same.

[0018] The fourth sign of the charge carried by the charged particles 206 attracted from the flame inertial electrode 112 by the inertial electrode launcher depletion electrode 204 (to produce the majority of charged particles having the third sign 114 in the flame inertial electrode 112) may be opposite from the second sign of the charge carried by the charged particles 108b attracted from the flame 104 by the depletion electrode 106 (to produce the majority of charged particles the first sign 108a in the flame 104). Accordingly, the first and third signs of the charges carried by the respective majority charged particles 108a, 114 in the flame 104 and the inertial electrode 112 may be opposite from one another.

[0019] In alternative embodiments, the electrode launcher charger 204 may be configured to add charges 114 to the flame virtual electrode 112. For example, the electrode launcher charger 204 may include a corona electrode (not shown) configured to eject charged ions 114 toward the flame virtual electrode 112. In another example, the electrode launcher charger 204 may include an ionizer (not shown) configured to add charge 114 to the flame virtual electrode 112, to fuel (not shown) supporting the flame virtual electrode 112, or to air or other oxidizer (not shown) that supports the flame virtual electrode 112.

[0020] An electrode driver 118 may be configured to control at least one of the sign or concentration of the charged particles 114 in the flame inertial electrode 112.

[0021] The burner system 101 may include a valve 208 configured to control a flow of fuel (not shown) to the flame inertial electrode burner 202 and an electrode driver 118 configured to control the valve 208 and an igniter or pilot (not shown) configured to ignite the flame inertial electrode 112 when the valve 208 is opened. An electrical insulator or air gap 210 may be configured to electrically isolate the flame inertial electrode 112 from ground or another voltage.

[0022] According to the embodiment, the inertial electrode burner 202 may be arranged to be protected from a fluid flow past the burner 102. The arrangement may include positioning the inertial electrode burner 202 in the lee of a physical fluid flow barrier (not shown).

[0023] According to the embodiment, the flame inertial electrode 112 may be configured as a flame holder for the flame 104. Additionally the flame inertial electrode 112 may be configured to affect a shape or location of the flame 104 and may be configured to affect a concentration of the charged particles 108a in the flame 104.

[0024] FIG. 3 is a diagram showing an inertial electrode launcher 110 according to another embodiment. The inertial electrode launcher 110 may include a body 302 defining a vaporization well 304 and first and second electrodes 306a, 306b operatively coupled to an electrode driver 118. The electrode driver 118 may be configured to apply a high voltage to a vaporizing material 308 at least temporarily confined by the vaporization well 304. This may vaporize the vaporizing material 308 to produce an inertial electrode 112 including vapor, aerosol, or vapor and aerosol of the vaporizing material 308 carrying charged particles 114.

[0025] The electrode driver 118 may be configured to apply the high voltage with a voltage bias having a same sign as a sign of charge carried by a majority of the charged particles 114. Suddenly applying a voltage through the vaporizing material causes a rapid conversion from liquid to vapor, typically without a detectable increase in temperature. Vapor launched by the inertial electrode may condense to an aerosol during flight.

[0026] The burner system 101 may include a fluid flow passage 310 configured to admit the vaporizing material 308 to the vaporization well 304 and a valve or actuator 312 configured to enable a flow of the vaporizing material 308 through the fluid flow passage 310 to the vaporization well 304. The valve or actuator 312 may be operatively coupled to the electrode driver 118.

[0027] A nozzle 314 may be configured to determine a direction of travel 316 of the vapor, aerosol, or vapor and aerosol of the vaporizing material 308 forming the inertial electrode 112. An actuator (not shown) operatively coupled to the electrode driver 118 may be configured to align the nozzle 314 to an intended direction of travel 316 of the vapor, aerosol, or vapor and aerosol of the liquid 308 forming the inertial electrode 112.

[0028] The voltage bias and the charge sign of the majority charged particles 114 carried by the inertial electrode 112 is the same as the first sign of the charges carried by the majority charged particles 108a in the flame 104. Alternatively, the voltage bias and the charge sign of the majority charged particles 114 carried by the inertial electrode 112 may be the opposite of the first sign of the charges carried by the majority charged particles 108a in the flame 104.

[0029] The inertial electrode launcher 110 may be arranged to be protected from a fluid flow past the burner 102, such as by positioning the inertial electrode launcher 110 in the lee of a physical fluid flow barrier (not shown).

[0030] The inertial electrode 112 may be configured as a flame holder for the flame 104. Additionally or alternatively, the inertial electrode 112 may be driven to affect a shape or location of the flame 104 and/or may be driven to affect a concentration of the charged particles 108a in the flame 104 or the combustion gas stream 116.

[0031] The vaporizing material 308 may include a liquid such as water. The material 308 may additionally or alternatively include a dissolved solute and/or a molten salt. In some embodiments, the vaporizing material 308 may include, for example, a gel such as a hydrogel, gelatin and/or slurry. The slurry may include a liquid and an undissolved phase configured to be carried by the liquid when the liquid is vaporized. The undissolved phase may include carbon, for example. Additionally, the slurry may include a liquid and an undissolved phase selected to be vaporized by the voltage. A vaporizing undissolved phase may include a lithium salt, for example.

[0032] FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment where the inertial electrode launcher 110 is configured to project an inertial electrode including charged solids. The inertial electrode launcher 110 may include a body 402 defining an orifice 404 from which solid particles 406 are projected to a location proximate the flame 104. The projected solid particles 406 may include at least one or more charged particles 114. The charged solid particles 406 may substantially form the inertial electrode 112.

[0033] The orifice 404 may include a Venturi passage. The solid particles 406 may be configured to be projected by an entrainment fluid 408 such as air passing through the orifice 404. The solid particles 406 may be injected into the passing entrainment fluid at the orifice 404 through a particle channel 410. A particle valve 412 may be operatively coupled to the electrode driver 118. The electrode driver 118 may be configured to control a rate of flow of particles through the particle channel 410 and/or a periodicity or intermittent timing of particle flow through the particle channel 410.

[0034] A corona surface 414 may be configured to be driven to sufficient voltage to cause an emission of charges. Some of the charges emitted by the corona may be deposited on at least some of the solid particles 406. The corona surface 414 may include a corona wire (not shown) and may include a corotron or scorotron (neither shown). The corona surface 414 may be operatively coupled to the electrode driver 118. The electrode driver 118 may be configured to control the voltage to which the corona surface 414 is driven.

[0035] The voltage sign to which the corona surface 414 is driven and the charge sign of the majority charged particles 114 carried by the inertial electrode 112 may be the same as the first sign of the charges carried by the majority charged particles 108a in the flame 104 or alternatively may be opposite of the first sign of the charges carried by the majority charged particles 108a in the flame 104.

[0036] The burner system 101 may further include an actuator (not shown) operatively coupled to the electrode driver 118 configured to align the orifice 404 to an intended direction of travel 416 of the charged solid particles 406 forming the inertial electrode 112.

[0037] The inertial electrode launcher 110 may be arranged to be protected from a fluid flow past the burner 102. This may include positioning the inertial electrode launcher 110 in the lee of a physical fluid flow barrier (not shown). The inertial electrode 112 may be configured as a flame holder for the flame 104. Additionally or alternatively, the inertial electrode 112 may be driven to affect a shape or location of the flame 104 and the inertial electrode 112 may be driven to affect a concentration of the charged particles 108a in the flame 104.

[0038] The solid particles 406 may include comminuted coal, coke, or carbon. The solid particles 406 may be selected to react in the flame 104 or the combustion gas stream 116 produced by the flame 104.

[0039] FIG. 5 is a diagram showing an inertial electrode launcher 110 including a nozzle 502 configured to at least intermittently or periodically receive a voltage from the electrode driver 118 and expel a fluid carrying charged particles or a voltage corresponding to the voltage received from the electrode driver. The nozzle 502 may be configured to expel a fluid 510 carrying charged particles 114, wherein the charged particles 114 and fluid 510 may form the inertial electrode 112. Alternatively or additionally, the nozzle 502 may expel a conductive fluid selected to carry a voltage corresponding to the voltage placed on the nozzle 502. The fluid 510 may include a liquid such as water.

[0040] A valve 504 may be operatively coupled to the electrode driver 118 and may be configured to respond to an actuation signal from the electrode driver 118 to at least intermittently or periodically open flow of the fluid from a fluid supply system 506 to flow through the nozzle 502. The fluid supply system 506 may be configured to supply the fluid 510 to the nozzle 502 and maintain electrical isolation between the fluid 510 and a fluid source 516.

[0041] The fluid supply system 506 may further include a tank 508 to hold the fluid 510, the tank may be made of an electrically insulating material or may be supported by electrical insulators 512 to isolate the fluid 510 from ground or another voltage. An antisiphon arrangement 514 may be configured to maintain electrical isolation between the fluid 510 and the fluid source 516.

[0042] The voltage sign to which the nozzle 502 may be driven and the charge sign of the fluid charges 114 carried by the inertial electrode 112 may be the same as the first sign of the charges carried by the majority charged particles 108a in the flame 104 or in the combustion gas stream 116. Alternatively, the voltage sign to which the nozzle 502 may be driven and the charge sign of the fluid charges 114 carried by the inertial electrode 112 may be the opposite of the first sign of the charges carried by the majority charged particles 108a in the flame 104 or in the combustion gas stream 116.

[0043] The burner system 101 may further include an actuator (not shown) operatively coupled to the electrode driver 118 that may be configured to align the nozzle 502 to an intended direction of travel of the inertial electrode 112.

[0044] The nozzle 502 may be arranged to be protected from a fluid flow past the burner 102. The protection may include positioning the nozzle 502 in the lee of a physical fluid flow barrier (not shown). The inertial electrode 112 may be configured as a flame holder for the flame 104.

[0045] The inertial electrode 112 may be driven to affect a shape or location of the flame 104 or the combustion gas stream 116 and the inertial electrode 112 may be driven to affect a concentration of the charged particles 108a in the flame 104. Optionally, the fluid 510 may be selected to react in the flame 104 or the combustion gas stream 116 produced by the flame 104, or may carry particles selected to react.

[0046] The burner system 101 may further include an electrode driver 118 and a depletion electrode launcher (not shown) operatively coupled to the electrode driver 118. The depletion electrode 106 may be an inertial electrode 112.

[0047] The burner system 101 may further include a heated apparatus (not shown). The heated apparatus may include one or more of an electrical power generator, a turbine, a chemical process plant, a boiler, a water heater, a furnace, a land vehicle, a ship, or an aircraft configured to receive heat from the flame 104 or the combustion gas stream 116.

[0048] FIG. 6 is a flow chart illustrating a method 601 for operating a burner system including an inertial electrode, according to an embodiment. Beginning at step 602, a burner may support a flame. Proceeding to step 604, at least a portion of the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame is caused to carry a majority charge having a first sign. Causing at least a portion of the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame to carry the majority charge with the first sign may include attracting a charge opposite to the majority charge with a depletion electrode. In another embodiment, causing at least a portion of the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame to carry the majority charge may include adding the majority charge to the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame, such as with an ion-ejecting electrode or with an ionizer. Additionally or alternatively, causing at least a portion of the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame to carry the majority charge may be performed by launching a flame charging inertial electrode in proximity to the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame. For example, the majority charge carried by the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame may correspond to a majority charge carried by the flame charging inertial electrode.

[0049] Proceeding to step 606, an inertial electrode is launched in proximity to the flame or to the combustion gas produced by the flame. Step 606 may include causing the inertial electrode to carry majority charges having a second sign. According to an embodiment, the sign of the majority charges carried by the inertial electrode may be the same as the first sign of the majority charges carried by at least a portion of the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame (e.g., to cause the inertial electrode to repel the flame). Alternatively, the sign of the majority charges carried by the inertial electrode may be opposite of the first sign of the majority charges carried by the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame (e.g., to cause the inertial electrode to attract the flame).

[0050] Proceeding to step 608, a shape, location, or other attribute of the flame may be affected with the inertial electrode. For example, the inertial electrode may, in step 608, affect a concentration of the charged particles in the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame. Alternatively or additionally, at least a portion of the inertial electrode may react with the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame. Additionally or alternatively, a flame may be flattened, lengthened, caused to flow toward or away from an inertial electrode, caused to emit more or less radiation, caused to combust to a greater degree of completion, cooled, caused to react more rapidly, or otherwise modified by the inertial electrode.

[0051] According to an embodiment, the method 601 may include protecting an inertial electrode launcher from exposure to a fluid flow past the flame (not shown). For example, protecting the inertial electrode launcher from exposure to the fluid flow past the flame may include positioning the inertial flame holder and/or at least a portion of the inertial electrode in the lee of a physical fluid flow barrier (not shown). In such a case, step 608 may include providing flame holding with the inertial electrode

[0052] Proceeding to step 610, heat from the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame may be supplied to an apparatus, system, or process. For example, step 610 may include supplying heat from the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame to an electrical power generator, a turbine, a chemical process plant, a boiler, a water heater, a furnace, a land vehicle, a ship, or an aircraft.

[0053] Referring again to step 606, various forms of inertial electrodes are contemplated. Some embodiments are described above in conjunction with FIGS. 1-5. For example, step 606 may include launching a second flame comprising the inertial electrode. The second flame may be caused to carry an inertial electrode majority charge.

[0054] Alternatively, launching the inertial electrode in step 606 may include vaporizing a liquid carrying an inertial electrode majority charge and projecting the vaporized liquid or an aerosol of the liquid in proximity to the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame. Vaporizing the liquid carrying the inertial electrode majority charge may include applying a biased voltage through the liquid between electrodes.

[0055] According to another embodiment, launching the inertial electrode in step 606 may include propelling solid particles carrying an inertial electrode majority charge. For example, propelling solid particles carrying an inertial electrode majority charge may include entraining the solid particles in a fluid stream and depositing the inertial electrode majority charge on the entrained solid particles. The solid particles may include at least one of comminuted coal, coke, or carbon.

[0056] According to another embodiment, launching the inertial electrode in step 606 may include energizing a nozzle with an inertial electrode voltage and projecting a liquid from the nozzle. For example, the liquid may include water.

[0057] Optionally, the method 601 may include actuating a direction of launch of the inertial electrode (not shown). Optionally, the method 601 may include actuating a timing, volume, or charge concentration of the inertial electrode (not shown).







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