Energy Savings, Deep Decarbonization, Zero Emissions, and Improved Uniformity with the Airtorch®, MightySteam®, E-Ion, and Large Radiative Panels.

Fossil fuels are in the news. 2023 is the hottest year on record. For the first time, the global average temperature in late 2023 was more than 2 Celsius, hotter than levels before industrialization, according to preliminary data. (source citation). The surface ocean temperature around the Florida Keys soared to 101.19F (38.43C) in December 2023, which could be a global record as ocean heat reaches unprecedented extremes. In 2023, wildfires in Hawaii claimed 97 lives, while blazes in Canada blanketed much of the Eastern US with smoke for weeks.

Deep decarbonization eliminates CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from any process. This is a crucial sustainability advantage.

Sustainability initiatives can help improve financial performance with high public support as these initiatives have a global impact. Companies with a high sustainability vision tend to have a lower cost of debt and appear to have better operations management. Sustainability includes: 

  • Climate risk management with the elimination of fossil fuel use.
  • Electrification, energy, and emissions reduction.
  • Company-wide sustainability strategies.
  • Resilient infrastructure with intelligent operations.
  • Sustainable supply chains.

The deep decarbonization market for industrial heating is expected to top US 1 Trillion Dollars. It is essential to use the technologies that offer the highest efficiency  >96%  when transitioning to electrical systems—modern controls and optimized materials and design are critical selection criteria for this global effort.

For deep decarbonization equipment.

High-efficiency electric industrial heating, which includes steam technologies, is now available for the electrification of industrial heating systems with zero CO2, NOx, and SO2 emissions. Deep decarbonization is a competitive advantage. Electric systems offer many advantages in control and improved productivity in industrial furnace processes, drying and roasting, cement, steel, aluminum, magnesium, comfort heating, fuels, cement, hydrogen heating, aviation, materials heat treatment, and heating of food, milk, sterilization, and beverages.

Project Costing Principles.

Fossil fuels have a precise social cost. ( Citation 1) (Citation 2). By 2025, this could be $3,700 per ton of CO2.

Fossil fuel systems are also inherently more complex and inefficient than their electric resistance heating counterparts, with more avenues for failures. Burners require an ideal oxygen mixture that must be adequately regulated to operate efficiently, but achieving stoichiometric combustion is unrealistic, such that excess levels of air must be introduced to ensure complete combustion. This excess air is counter-productive by directing heat straight to the flue stack. However, it is a necessary loss since the exhaust temperature must be maintained above dew points to prevent the formation of corrosive mixtures, which can degrade equipment at an accelerated rate. Internally, the firetubes can be coated with soot, resulting in a lower thermal efficiency. The upkeep for these systems is extensive because of the complexity of the design — burners, fans, fuel mixtures, exhaust stack temperature, scale build-up, and pollution treatment.

Electric systems are straightforward by design and easily scalable. There are no parasitic losses as there is no combustion, and highly efficient operation can occur without issue. Maintenance includes inspecting a blowdown vessel and electrical connections and ensuring no water or steam leaks. Annual maintenance involves pulling out the element to clean — a process that can be done in hours. For maintenance and downtime reasons alone, industrial facilities that want to minimize their capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operational expenditures (OPEX) should consider making the switch.

The transition to a greener future has an initial price, which is quickly recovered. The longer the wait by countries and companies, the larger the costs. There are many ways to justify the returns on the capital required for new equipment to replace fossil fuel-burning equipment. Promoting deep decarbonization through electrification requires understanding the key advantages of electrification of industrial heating compared to fossil-fuel heating. The returns from rapid investments in large MW electrified equipment can be substantial. This page provides general guidelines for project costing when changing from fossil fuel heating to electric. It discusses the costs of various methods, from electrification to carbon capture. Significant social costs are incurred when using fossil fuels. Read more about the social cost of making CO2.

Summary:

  • The industrial heating and transportation sectors emit almost the same amount of CO2.
  • The fastest way to decarbonize is by electrifying industrial heating.
    • One ton of CO2 is emitted in 50 hours (or about every 2,500 miles) by a typical ~55-KW automobile.
    • One ton of CO2 is emitted in just 4 hours by a ~0.8 MW natural gas heater (typical size) in a factory.
    • One ton of CO2 is made for every half-ton of steel produced.
  • The capital costs for electrifying industrial heating per kW are lower than those for electrifying vehicles (EVs). Typically, EVs have a capital cost of US$5000/KW compared to $500-1000 for industrial heating equipment.
  • Large KW to MW electrical heaters can offer much lower overall operational costs than fossil-fuel heaters when all the costs and improved efficiencies are factored in.
  • Industrial electrical heaters are very energy efficient and compact – a 500C 1 MW heater is only 24″ long the pressure drops are low – less than 0.1 psig for the 1 MW 500C heater. There are benefits from space-saving, safety from potential explosions, and lowered insurance costs.
  • Focussed electrification in industrial thermal equipment provides enormous momentum in the required total global decarbonization.
  • Huge social costs are associated with fossil fuel combustion. Organizations are now using the social cost of carbon (anywhere from $51-$500 or more per ton of CO2 emitted) to help evaluate investment decisions and guide long-term planning that considers the full extent of how their operations impact society and the environment. Additional risk pressures are from climate-conscious cities and youth groups. The safest and most efficient route is electrification for deep decarbonization with the most efficient electrical systems. About a third of excess CO2 emissions can be equally attributed to industrial heating, transportation, and power generation sectors. 

Global temperature rise and CO2 levels are correlated. The global temperature rise promotes intense weather.

The atmospheric CO2 levels in 2022 were >410 ppm+, and the temperature rise was almost ~ 1.1 C above a safe baseline. In 2024, the temperature is closer to 1.5C above the baseline. Global energy-use-related CO2 emissions grew by ~321 million tons, reaching a new high of more than 36.8 billion tons in 2022. The year 2022 was eventful when the temperatures, extreme climate zeros, and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increased. The year 2023 was the hottest on record. If we continue to use fossil fuels, the predictions are for higher CO2 and other GHGs, leading to higher temperatures and, consequently, more extreme events.

Rapid Steam Generator

Rapid steam generation in the industrial heating sector with considerably improved efficiencies (decarbonization) can quickly reduce CO2 and methane emissions to zero. Compare the prices of the lowest price fossil fuels in various countries as of 2022 with electric power (source). The project payback is quick. 

How do you get to zero CO2 and zero NOx with the lowest capital cost? Electrifying industrial heaters with high efficiency, high temperature, compactness, and quick on-off features without idling. Please contact MHI for project cost recovery periods if you have requested a quotation for heaters or steam units. The capital cost per KW for industrial electrification is estimated to be far lower than that for electric vehicles.

Is there enough electricity available? We think so – even without counting the novel rapid advances in electricity production by sustainable and rechargeable means. Giant batteries that ensure stable power supply by offsetting intermittent renewable supplies are becoming cheap enough to make developers abandon scores of projects for gas-fired generation worldwide. Electric grids have become more efficient the world over. The efficient use of power may be required as the demand escalates. An efficient use, for example, is using a car battery for other purposes when an EV is not in use – which is almost 90% of the EV’s daily cycle. Efficient use also means using less energy for an objective like Duct Heaters, i.e., with a low-pressure drop of only 0.1 psi for 1 MW instead of 1 psi with traditional inefficient electric heaters.

How much CO2 emission is prevented by electrification? The total CO2 emissions from fossil fuels depend on the fuel and other factors determining the combustion quality (please see the emissions table for specific fuels on the right). The electrification of industrial heating can entirely reduce these rapidly. Typically, using 1 KWh (3,600,000 Joules) of electric energy instead of fossil fuel energy for industrial heating can save at least ~0.18 -0.5 kg of CO2 equivalence from being emitted on average by a heater. Other GHGs like NOx, methane, SO2, or particulates emitted during fossil fuel combustion are even more potent than CO2 and are simultaneously reduced with electric energy use. These gases can be clubbed into a CO2 equivalence. For example, any NOx emitted is approximately 298 times more potent than the amount of CO2 (in weight)methane emissions are 25 times equivalent to CO2 in weight.

When using fossil fuels, emissions can occur even before the combustion process, e.g., during the transmission or transportation of GHG gases.

Both CO2 levels and global temperatures are rising. The generation rate of new entropy is rising.


Visualization of how global warming increases the probability of extreme events? Extreme heat-related events increase by shifting and flattening the curve.

Today, a loss of $300 per ton of CO2 equivalence emission is not an unreasonable number to add to project costs. By placing a value on carbon emissions, decision-makers can purchase electrical industrial heaters with an excellent projected return on capital. Such calculations are shown here. One can expand upon traditional financial decision-making tools with such cost adders and create accurate and proper metrics for measuring investment decisions. As a rough rule, 1 MW of energy production with electricity instead of fossil fuels could save anywhere from 0.2 – 0.5 tons of CO2 emission equivalent per hour. The best option for decarbonization is to quickly change to electrical, industrial heating systems with zero CO2, NOx, and SO2 emissions. Kilowatt-to-megawatt electrical systems are available today with very attractive payback prices when considering energy at $0.06 per kWh and only partially including the social cost of emissions.

New electric heater equipment often pays back quickly when considering the CO2 emission costs of using fossil fuels for heating. Several organizations are now using the social cost of several hundred dollars per ton of CO2 emitted to help evaluate investment decisions. 

In addition to the severe cost of CO2 emitted, one should also consider the following factors for a payback analysis:

  • The efficiency of thermal transfer. What is the actual energy conversion efficiency to theoretical efficiency? Typically, electrical heaters offer a 30% better efficiency when compared to combustion heaters. The MHI Airtorch® systems offer more than 95% efficiency depending on the model. Process Gas Heaters Comparison Table.
  • Pressure drop. Some large MHI models have a pressure drop at 1000C of as low as 0.1 psi (~3wc). High-pressure drops for large flows lead to a higher blower price and PV-energy waste and costs.
  • Control systems. Reasonable control with high-sensitivity instruments offers an excellent turn-down ratio with intelligent cascade electronics.   This allows for versatile controls. MHI uses the best SCRs and electronics that exceed typical industry standards.
  • Materials and Design. What is the best temperature rating of the Airtorch? Depending on the model, MHI Airtorch® systems offer 1200°C exit temperatures. A higher temperature-rated Airtorch® will perform better and last longer even at a lower temperature.
  • Productivity vs. Temperature (in pdf format). Higher temperatures typically lead to faster outputs.
  • Improvement of over 30% in energy efficiency compared to …..(click here for case studies)
  • Request Information on an Electric Airtorch

The costs of fossil fuel burning are increasing rapidly.

Can one capture CO2 from the air and store it? As of today, direct capture costs are prohibitively high. The range of costs varies between $250 and $600/ton CO2, depending on the chosen technology. Some solids and liquids can absorb CO2. Plants remove carbon dioxide from the air naturally, and trees are especially good at storing CO2 removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis. Photosynthesis removes carbon dioxide naturally. Amines, algae, zeolites, salt solutions, water, and hydroxides can capture CO2. Activated carbon can also absorb CO2. The captured carbon dioxide can be used to make valuable compounds, but the CO2 may be given off again when used! Various reports detail the difficulties and dangers of CO2 capture.

If we add the carbon capture cost to the dangers of CO2 capture and the asset reduction cost of emitting CO2, the actual cost of emitting CO2 could be extremely high for industrial heating. To limit global warming to less than two °C above pre-industrial temperatures, current estimates indicate that compared to 2020,  the troposphere has to lose or have removed  ~1 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year by 2030.   Even if the CO2 can be collected from power plants and stored through sequestration, there are two potential problems. The first is cost, and the second is the very high risk of leakage. Carbon sequestration projects can involve storing CO2 in underground reservoirs, which raises the risk of leakage and acidifying water.

Economic: Electric methods are generally more efficient than fossil fuel combustion for heating. Regardless,  it is essential to use the most efficient electrical systems. Improving energy efficiency can lower utility bills, create healthy jobs, help stabilize electricity price volatility, and improve the climate with lower CO2 emissions for any objective. Several attractive loans are available for curtailing anthropogenic carbon emissions with new equipment, i.e., reducing the emissions of various forms of carbon – the most concerning being carbon dioxide – associated with human activities. These activities include burning fossil fuels, deforestation, land use changes, livestock, fertilization, etc., resulting in a net increase in emissions. The payback period for new equipment for decarbonization is attractively small when one includes the high social cost of CO2 emissions from alternate methods. Contact MHI for your decarbonization system needs (free).

Electrifying industrial heating could be the most rapid method of addressing CO2 emissions in the near term.

Summary of Energy Cost Factoring CO2 emissions:  When one includes the social cost of CO2 production, the price of one KWh of electric or combustion energy starts converging. The CO2 emissions per million kilojoules of energy used range from 50.4 kg for natural gas to 68.8 kg for jet fuels. The social cost of emitting industrially produced  CO2 is estimated at $51-$414/ton, rising rapidly with time. Adding climate cost to combustion heating increases the price of all fossil fuels on average by at least ~$300 or more per ton of CO₂ with a high of $414+/ton  (i.e., corresponding 2 to 4 US cents per kWh that could be added to the average price of toxic fossil fuel energy costs).

Increased energy efficiency from electrification can lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other pollutants and decrease water usage. Converting from a 16MW  combustion heater to an electric Airtorch could save over 30% energy and several millions of dollars in climate-reduced asset and insurance costs. A 30% improved efficiency is typically noted in electric heater devices over combustion (fossil-fuel) heaters.   For example, a 14.2 MW combustion gas heater could be replaced with an 11 MW electric Airtorch. A savings of ~$48,000 daily (assuming 1 KWh ~10 US cents).

Productivity:  MHI systems adjust to optimize the energy required by drawing only the necessary power and accelerating productivity with the optimal highest Temperature. A higher temperature significantly adds to the production rate. More power equates to a higher energy delivery per unit of time. Conventional furnaces have fixed heat loss; the higher power will mean that you deliver heat faster to reach the required Temperature. An underpowered system will struggle to get to the Temperature.

Emissions from Natural Gas. The emissions from natural gas-fired boilers and furnaces could include nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), trace amounts of sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particulate matter (PM).

MHI Airtorch® models are designed for low thermal energy loss. Simultaneously, thelow-pressure-energye-energy loss. MHI Airtorch® models offer high-temperature input, which benefits duct heaters and ovens that quickly replace natural gas heating. This is the best method for decarbonization.

For the best energy saving, the following tips could be helpful depending on the application:

Request OAB and VHGA Information

Resources

Continuous Overn with Airtorch

ContinuouOvenrn with Airtorch

Click here to view typical applications.

What’s New:: See Testimonials:: Calculate Power:: Conversion Calculator
Airtorch Flow vs. Temperature ChartsRequest a quote for Airtorch®

Request OAB and VHGA Information

Back to Main Airtorch® Page

Airtorch® System Introduction

Please use a five-step process for selection. First, choose the maximum rated exit temperature of the Airtorch®.  If below 900 °C, please select TA models, e.g., VTA and Mls. If above 925°C, please choose the MVTA or DPF model – please contact MHI.

Sometimes, the lowest power users work through several cycles in a recuperator mode. The SH models can accept inlet gas temperatures up to 800°C. Please get in touch with MHI for details.

The Airtorch® convective system uses a particular class of elements to heat the ambient air and direct that heated air towards a surface or into a chamber. Depending on the model, the Airtorch® system can achieve temperatures ranging from room temperature to 1100-1200°C (~2200°F) with infinitely variable volume flow rates and no harmful emissions, providing a beneficial new heating method with modern controls.

MHI Airtorch® applications are in drying electrical varnish, weld preheating, die heating, plastic softening before forming, drying motor parts, removing moisture, expansion fitting, combustion, simulation preheating and heating molds, curing, prosthetics, heat shrinking, compression molding, flock setting, curing catalysts drying slurries, freeze-drying, improving ink print finish, finishing mirror drying, latex, heating adhesives, and general heating of chambers as shown below. Add to chambers for powder and liquid finishing. Add to continuous furnaces for wood conditioning, metal finishing, and forming. A small but finite temperature drop is experienced when directing Airtorch® flow with insulated piping because of the high velocity.

  • For impingement types of applications, the DPFs offer very superior value.
  • A good rule of thumb for augmenting uniformity in an existing furnace with an Airtorch® add-on is choosing an Airtorch® power with at least 30% of the original. This may not be enough if a temperature increase is also sought.
  • When planning to extend the Airtorch® exit piping, please note that well-insulated pipes will drop the temperature very little as the exit velocity is m/s. A helpful but rough rule of thumb may be about 50°C-100°C/m drop for good internal pipe insulation. Good pipe insulation is specific to whether the pipe is internally or externally insulated. The MHI industry standard is about a 1-2″ thick insulation. Please get in touch with MHI when required.
  • Introduction to Airtorch® | Airtorch  Applications | CalculatPowerower .vs Flow Rate | Easy Design Criterion

  • With its variable volume flow rate and power adjustability, the Airtorch can be set up to perform at any condition of flow temperature under the curve. Such features offer the user maximum flexibility when applying the Airtorch™ technology to heating applications.

    Easy to use selection and design page.

    Continuous Ovens.

The use of Airtorch® products may be classified into three major categories schematically drawn below.

Direct Impingement

Direct Impingement

Gas Preheating

Gas Preheating

Retrofit for Enhancement

Retrofit for Enhancement

Retrofit/Upgrading.


Use the Airtorch® with
existing furnace technology
infra-red, gas, radiant
to improve uniformity and
furnace efficiency.

   

Example of Use to Augment an Existing Furnace Installation for Improved Power and Uniformity.

An example of a 4kW Airtorch® augmentation application is schematically shown below. In this application, many complex-shaped rods are to be heated uniformly. The heat-treater reported that the rods were not uniformly heated in his existing radiant heat furnace. MHI proposed an add-on to his existing furnace with a system of Airtorch products, significantly impacting the uniformity – reducing the total energy consumed. More Green Installation and more Profits to the user. Improve oven performances and eliminate harmful emissions.


A uniform surface heating retrofit example and continuous oven examples are illustrated below.

As a rule of thumb, an Airtorch power of ~0.3 the furnace power is employed when designing for better uniformity.

  • Industrial heating Sectors for Decarbonization

Choose from AirtorchSteam, or Radiative panels.

Ask MHI about compact KW to MW electrical systems. MHI products for heating and steam do not use any fossil fuel nor emit greenhouse gases. Using fossil energy like fuel oil, gasoline, or natural gas for heating creates considerable CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Every ton of CO2 emission causes about the same amount of global warming, no matter when and where the CO2 is emitted. (Free calculator).

Request Information on an Electric Airtorch or Steam.
Kilograms of CO2 are emitted per million KiloJoules of heating by specific fossil fuels. The heat value (MJ/kg) is also shown.
Natural Gas (the main component is methane). Heat value 42-55 MJ/kg. 50.4 kg of CO2 per Million Kilojoules
Jet Fuel  Heat value 50-55 MJ/kg. 68.8 kg of CO2 per Million Kilojoules
Bituminous (coal)  Heat Value ~ 18 MJ/kg. 88.8 kg of CO2 per Million Kilojoules
Diesel and Home Heating Fuel (Distillate Fuel Oil)  Heat Value 42-46 MJ/kg. 59.9 kg of CO2 per Million Kilojoules
Gasoline and Ethanol Blends. Heat value 44-46 MJ/kg. 64.1 kg of CO2 per Million Kilojoules

The Gamut of Airtorch Products

Airtorch 1000C

heat treating uniformity

binder burn off

A fuel’s “Heat value” is the heat released during combustion. Also referred to as energy or calorific value, the heat value measures a fuel’s energy density and is expressed in energy (Megajoules or Gigajoules) per (kg). If the fuel contains carbon, there is CO2 emission, as shown in the table above.

 Fuel Heat value
Hydrogen (H2) 120-142 MJ/kg
Methane (CH4) 50-55 MJ/kg
Methanol (CH3OH) 22.7 MJ/kg
Propane (C3H8) 46 MJ/kg
Dimethyl ether – DME (CH3OCH3) 29 MJ/kg
Petrol/gasoline 44-46 MJ/kg
Diesel fuel 42-46 MJ/kg
Crude oil 42-47 MJ/kg
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) 46-51 MJ/kg
Natural gas 42-55 MJ/kg
Hard black coal (IEA definition) >~23.9 MJ/kg
  Hard black coal (Canada) ~ 25 MJ/kg
Sub-bituminous coal (IEA definition) 17.4-23.9 MJ/kg
  Sub-bituminous coal (Canada) ~ 18 MJ/kg
Lignite/brown coal (IEA definition) <17.4 MJ/kg
  Lignite/brown coal (Australia) c. 10 MJ/kg
Firewood (dry) 16 MJ/kg
Natural Uranium in LWR

with U & Pu recycle

650 GJ/kg
Natural Uranium, in FNR 28,000 GJ/kg
Uranium enriched to 3.5% in LWR 3900 GJ/kg

Request OAB and VHGA Information

A uniform surface heating retrofit example and continuous oven examples are illustrated below.

As a rule of thumb, an Airtorch power of ~0.3 the furnace power is employed when designing for better uniformity.

MHI Airtorch® Supplemental Heating Proposal
Scope: Supplement existing electrodes by applying Airtorch convective heating to increase performance and life
Request OAB and VHGA Information

Solution: By supplementing the existing electrodes with the Airtorch® and blankets, the watt density is increased on the mold, thus reducing the workload of the existing electrodes.

1 Heating: Create a convective cavity around the assembly using two 4kW Airtorch® units. Fixture Airtorch units behind mold and electrodes at angles to create air movement. This should improve the overall heating of the mold.

2 Insulation: The assembly is surrounded by refractory blankets (five sides) to retain as much heat as possible.

Add a duct heater

Extremely Compact High Power

Extremely Compact High Power Airtorch®

Learn about Thermal Batteries by Contacting MHI.

EFFICIENCY

Electric Systems Offer Design Improvements / Enhancements
Combustion/Flame MHI Electric Systems
Appearance Non-uniform heating. Repeatable uniform heating – resulting in consistent label results.  Once conditions are dialed in, the setup will yield minimal variation.
Bottle or Treated Surface Combustion leaves deposits on the surfaces (visible to micro level) Airtorch® or Steam or Steam/ Air patented heating leaves no combustion product on treated surfaces.  Improves detail and appeal.
Sources Combustion source creates:

Explosion hazard

Costly fuel and disposal

Emissions of CO2 from combustion

‘Hot’ spots from flame  heating

Venting required

Electric Systems:

Electric flexible source.

Air or Water

No emissions

No combustion

Evenly distributed heat

No explosive consumables

SUSTAINABILITY

Modules for a Green Work Environment
Combustion/Flame MHI Electric Systems
Modularity New gas lines, more consumables used, safety approvals, etc. Modular with flexible power lines as needed.

You can add and subtract modules in minutes.

Easy to install

Easy to operate

Easy change of configuration

Highly mobile

Repeatability Non-uniformities result from combustion treatment surfaces— uneven heating, combustion deposits, NOx, SO2, and more. Electric systems offer uniform, repeatable, and continuous treatment of products resulting in less variance.
Control Lack of precise control from combustion is a problem. Precise control of temperature and output gives high efficiency to your process.  A high level of control also allows for protection features such as overtemperature protection.