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Title:
INERTIAL ELECTRODE AND SYSTEM CONFIGURED FOR ELECTRODYNAMIC INTERACTION WITH A FLAME
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2013/130175
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An inertial electrode launcher may be configured to project charged particles or a voltage comprising an inertial electrode proximate a flame or combustion gas produced by the flame. According to an embodiment, a burner system may include a burner configured to support a flame, the flame carrying first charged particles. At least one inertial electrode launcher may be configured to launch an inertial electrode in proximity to the flame or combustion gas produced by the flame. The inertial electrode may include charged particles or may carry a voltage. The inertial electrode may be configured to affect a shape or location of the flame and/or affect a concentration or distribution of the charged particles in the flame.

Inventors:
GOODSON DAVID B (US)
PREVO TRACY A (US)
COLANNINO JOSEPH (US)
BREIDENTHAL ROBERT E (US)
WIKLOF CHRISTOPHER A (US)
Application Number:
US2012/072250
Publication Date:
September 06, 2013
Filing Date:
December 30, 2012
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CLEARSIGN COMBUSTION CORPORATION (12870 Interurban Avenue South, Seattle, WA, 98168, US)
International Classes:
G01P15/125
Foreign References:
US20110203771A12011-08-25
US20110027734A12011-02-03
US20070172780A12007-07-26
US5158449A1992-10-27
US7243496B22007-07-17
US4159786A1979-07-03
Other References:
VANDERMEER: "Flame Safeguard Controls in Multi-Burner Environments.", vol. WV-96, April 1998 (1998-04-01), pages 1 - 33, Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20121031]
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WIKLOF, Christopher, A. et al. (Launchpad Intellectual Property, Inc.914 164th St., SE,Ste. B12 #43, Mill Creek WA, 98012, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1 . A burner system, comprising:

a burner configured to support a flame, the flame carrying first charged particles; and

at least one inertial electrode launcher configured to launch an inertial electrode in proximity to the flame or combustion gas produced by the flame, the inertial electrode including charged particles or carrying a voltage.

2. The burner system of claim 1 , wherein the charged particles or voltage carried by the inertial electrode is selected to impart a majority charge on the flame or on a combustion gas stream produced by the flame.

3. The burner system of claim 1 , wherein the inertial electrode is configured to affect a shape or location of the flame.

4. The burner system of claim 1 , wherein the inertial electrode is configured to affect a concentration of the charged particles in the flame.

5. The burner system of claim 1 , wherein the charged particles or voltage carried by the inertial electrode are selected to interact with first charged particles carried by the flame or by a combustion gas stream produced by the flame.

6. The burner system of claim 1 , wherein the inertial electrode launcher is configured to impart inertia onto the inertial electrode; and

wherein inertia imparted onto the inertial electrode is selected to cause the flame or a combustion gas stream produced by the flame to respond to the inertia carried by the inertial electrode.

7. The burner system of claim 6, wherein the inertia imparted onto the inertial electrode and the charged particles or voltage carried by the inertial electrode are selected to cause the first charged particles carried by the flame or a combustion gas stream produced by the flame to respond to the inertia and to the charged particles or voltage carried by the inertial electrode.

8. The burner system of claim 1 , wherein the inertial electrode launcher and inertial electrode respectively include a plurality of inertial electrode launchers and inertial electrodes.

9. The burner system of claim 1 , further comprising:

an electrode driver configured to drive the inertial electrode launcher.

10. The burner system of claim 9, wherein the electrode driver is configured to periodically or intermittently change a concentration of the charged particles or the voltage carried by the inertial electrode.

1 1 . The burner system of claim 9, wherein the electrode driver is configured to periodically or intermittently change a sign of the charged particles or the voltage carried by the inertial electrode.

12. The burner system of claim 9, wherein the inertial electrode launcher further comprises:

a directional actuator configured to determine a direction the inertial electrode is launched by the inertial electrode launcher;

wherein the electrode driver is configured to control the directional actuator.

13. The burner system of claim 9, wherein the inertial electrode launcher further comprises: a location actuator configured to determine a location from which the inertial electrode is launched by the inertial electrode launcher;

wherein the electrode driver is configured to control the location actuator.

14. The burner system of claim 1 , further comprising an object selected to be heated by the flame or selected to be protected from heating by the flame.

15. The burner system of claim 14, wherein the object includes one or more of of a furnace wall, a boiler wall, a combustor wall, a heat transfer surface, an air- to-air heat exchanger, an air-to-liquid heat exchanger, a chemical reactor, a sensor, a turbine blade, a fireplace, or an object in an environment exposed to the flame.

16. The burner system of claim 14, wherein the inertial electrode launcher is configured to launch an inertial electrode carrying charges or a voltage selected to cause the flame or combustion gases produced by the flame to transfer relatively more heat to the object.

17. The burner system of claim 14, wherein the inertial electrode launcher is configured to cause the flame or combustion gases produced by the flame to transfer relatively less heat to the object.

18. The burner system of claim 14, wherein the object is electrically grounded.

19. The burner system of claim 14, wherein the object is driven to or held at a voltage having an opposite sign compared to the sign of the charges or the voltage carried by the inertial electrode.

20. The burner system of claim 14, wherein the object is driven to or held at a voltage having a same sign compared to the sign of the charges or the voltage carried by the inertial electrode.

21 . The burner system of claim 14, wherein the object is insulated from ground and is not driven to a voltage different than a voltage imparted by cooperation of the inertial electrode with the flame.

22. The burner system of claim 1 , wherein the inertial electrode launcher comprises:

an inertial electrode burner configured to at least intermittently or periodically support a flame inertial electrode; and

an inertial electrode launcher depletion electrode configured to attract from the flame inertial electrode charges to create a majority sign of the charged particles carried by in the flame inertial electrode.

23. The burner system of claim 22, further comprising:

an electrode driver configured to apply a voltage to the electrode launcher depletion electrode to control at least one of the sign or density of the charged particles in the flame inertial electrode.

24. The burner system of claim 22, further comprising:

a valve configured to control a flow of fuel to the flame inertial electrode burner; and

an electrode driver configured to control the valve.

25. The burner system of claim 24, further comprising:

an igniter or pilot configured to ignite the flame inertial electrode when the valve is opened.

26. The burner system of claim 22, further comprising:

an electrical insulator or gap configured to electrically isolate the flame inertial electrode from ground or another voltage.

27. The burner system of claim 22, wherein the inertial electrode burner is arranged to be protected from a fluid flow past the burner; and

wherein the flame inertial electrode is configured as a flame holder for the flame.

28. The burner system of claim 27, wherein the arrangement for protection of the inertial electrode burner from the fluid flow past the burner includes positioning the inertial electrode burner in the lee of a physical fluid flow barrier.

29. The burner system of claim 1 , wherein the inertial electrode launcher comprises:

a body defining a vaporization well; and

first and second electrodes operatively coupled to an electrode driver and configured to apply a high voltage to a liquid at least temporarily confined by the vaporization well to vaporize the liquid to produce a inertial electrode including vapor, aerosol, or vapor and aerosol of the liquid carrying charged particles; and an electrode driver 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.

30. The burner system of claim 29, further comprising:

a fluid flow passage configured to admit the liquid to the vaporization well.

31 . The burner system of claim 30, further comprising:

a valve or actuator configured to enable a flow of the liquid through the fluid flow passage to the vaporization well.

32. The burner system of claim 31 , wherein the valve or actuator is operatively coupled to the electrode driver.

33. The burner system of claim 29, further comprising: a nozzle configured to determine a direction of travel of the vapor, aerosol, or vapor and aerosol of the liquid forming the inertial electrode.

34. The burner system of claim 29, further comprising:

an actuator operatively coupled to the electrode driver configured to align the nozzle to an intended direction of travel of the vapor, aerosol, or vapor and aerosol of the liquid forming the inertial electrode.

35. The burner system of claim 29, wherein the liquid includes water.

36. The burner system of claim 29, wherein the liquid includes a buffer solution or is at least partly functionalized to hold the charge.

37. The burner system of claim 29, wherein the bias voltage is positive at least intermittently or periodically; and

wherein a majority of the charged particles carry a positive charge at least intermittently or periodically corresponding to the bias voltage.

38. The burner system of claim 29, wherein the bias voltage is negative at least intermittently or periodically; and

wherein a majority of the charged particles carry a negative charge at least intermittently or periodically corresponding to the bias voltage.

39. The burner system of claim 1 , wherein the inertial electrode launcher comprises:

a body defining an orifice from which solid particles are projected to a location proximate the flame or combustion gas produced by the flame;

wherein the projected solid particles include charged particles; and wherein one or more solid particles form the inertial electrode.

40. The burner system of claim 39, wherein the body includes a wall of a furnace or boiler.

41 . The burner system of claim 39, wherein the body includes refractory material.

42. The burner system of claim 39, wherein the orifice includes a Venturi.

43. The burner system of claim 39, wherein the solid particles are configured to be projected by an entrainment fluid passing through the orifice.

44. The burner system of claim 43, wherein the entrainment fluid includes air.

45. The burner system of claim 44, wherein the entrainment fluid includes an overfire oxidizer.

46. The burner system of claim 39, further comprising:

a particle channel positioned adjacent to the orifice;

wherein the solid particles are injected into a passing entrainment fluid at the orifice through the particle channel.

47. The burner system of claim 46, further comprising:

an electrode driver operatively coupled to the inertial electrode launcher; and

a particle valve operatively coupled to the electrode driver;

wherein the electrode driver is configured to control at least one of a rate of flow of particles through the particle channel or a periodic or intermittent particle flow through the particle channel.

48. The burner system of claim 39, further comprising: a corona surface configured to be driven to sufficient voltage to cause an emission of charges;

wherein at least some of the charges emitted by the corona are deposited on the solid particles.

49. The burner system of claim 48, wherein the corona surface includes a corona wire.

50. The burner system of claim 48, wherein the corona surface includes a corotron or scorotron.

51 . The burner system of claim 48, further comprising:

an electrode driver operatively coupled to the corona surface;

wherein the electrode driver is configured to control the voltage to which the corona surface is driven.

52. The burner system of claim 48, wherein a voltage sign to which the corona surface is driven and the charge sign of the majority charged particles carried by the inertial electrode are the same as a voltage carried by an object disposed adjacent to the flame or combustion gas produced by the flame.

53. The burner system of claim 48, wherein a voltage sign to which the corona surface is driven and the charge sign of the majority charged particles carried by the inertial electrode are opposite to a voltage carried by an object disposed adjacent to the flame or combustion gas produced by the flame.

54. The burner system of claim 39, further comprising:

the electrode driver; and

an actuator operatively coupled to the electrode driver configured to align the orifice to an intended direction of travel of the charged solid particles forming the inertial electrode.

55. The burner system of claim 39, further comprising:

the electrode driver; and

one or more steering electrodes operatively coupled to the electrode driver;

wherein the electrode driver is configured to energize the one or more steering electrodes to deflect the charged solid particles forming the inertial electrode toward an intended direction of travel.

56. The burner system of claim 39, wherein the orifice is arranged to be protected from a fluid flow past the burner; and

wherein the inertial electrode is configured as a flame holder for the flame.

57. The burner system of claim 56, wherein the arrangement for protection of the orifice from the fluid flow past the burner includes positioning the inertial electrode launcher in the lee of a physical fluid flow barrier.

58. The burner system of claim 39, wherein the particles include coal, coke, or carbon.

59. The burner system of claim 39, wherein the particles are selected to react in the flame or with combustion gas produced by the flame.

60. The burner system of claim 1 , further comprising:

an electrode driver operatively coupled to the inertial electrode launcher; wherein the inertial electrode launcher comprises:

a nozzle configured to at least intermittently or periodically receive a voltage from the electrode driver and to expel a fluid carrying charged particles; wherein the fluid carrying the charged particles forms the inertial electrode.

61 . The burner system of claim 60, wherein the fluid includes a liquid.

62. The burner system of claim 61 , wherein the liquid includes water.

63. The burner system of claim 60, wherein the fluid includes a buffer or is functionalized to hold the charge.

64. The burner system of claim 60, further comprising:

a valve operatively coupled to the electrode driver;

a fluid supply system in communication with the nozzle through the valve; wherein the valve is configured to respond to an actuation signal from the electrode driver to at least intermittently or periodically open flow of the fluid from a fluid supply system to flow through the nozzle.

65. The burner system of claim 60, further comprising:

a fluid supply system configured to supply the fluid to the nozzle and maintain electrical isolation between the fluid and a fluid source.

66. The burner system of claim 65, wherein the fluid supply system further comprises:

a tank to hold the fluid, the tank being made of an electrically insulating material or being supported by electrical insulators to isolate the fluid from ground or another voltage; and

an antisiphon arrangement configured to maintain electrical isolation between the fluid and the fluid source.

67. The burner system of claim 60, further comprising:

an object configured to be held at a voltage disposed proximate to the flame or combustion gas carried by the flame; wherein a voltage sign to which the nozzle is driven and the majority charge sign of the fluid charges carried by the inertial electrode are the same as a sign of the voltage held by the object.

68. The burner system of claim 60, further comprising:

an object configured to be held at a voltage disposed proximate to the flame or combustion gas carried by the flame;

wherein a voltage sign to which the nozzle is driven and the majority charge sign of the fluid charges carried by the inertial electrode are opposite of a sign of the voltage held by the object.

69. The burner system of claim 60, wherein the fluid is conductive; and

wherein the fluid is operative as an inertial electrode when it is in the form of a stream emitted from the nozzle.

70. The burner system of claim 60, further comprising:

an actuator operatively coupled to the electrode driver configured to align the nozzle to an intended direction of travel of the inertial electrode.

71 . A method for operating a burner system, comprising:

supporting a flame with a burner; and

launching an inertial electrode carrying charged particles or a voltage in proximity to the flame or to a combustion gas produced by the flame.

72. The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , further comprising: selecting a charge sign or voltage for the inertial electrode.

73. The method for operating a burner system of claim 72, wherein selecting a charge sign or voltage for the inertial electrode includes including a sequence of different charge signs or voltages.

74. The method for operating a burner system of claim 72, wherein selecting a charge sign or voltage for the inertial electrode includes selecting a time-varying sign of the charged particles or voltage carried by the inertial electrode.

75. The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , further comprising: affecting the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame with the inertial electrode.

76. The method for operating a burner system of claim 75, wherein the flame includes at least transiently present charged particles; and

wherein affecting the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame with the inertial electrode includes affecting a rate of reaction by interaction between the charged particles or voltage carried by the inertial electrode and the at least transiently present charged particles.

77. The method for operating a burner system of claim 75, wherein the flame includes at least transiently present charged particles; and

wherein affecting the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame with the inertial electrode includes affecting a shape of the flame.

78. The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , further comprising: supplying heat to an object from the flame or from the combustion gas produced by the flame.

79. The method for operating a burner system of claim 78, further comprising: affecting the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame with the inertial electrode to preferentially transfer heat to the object.

80. The method for operating a burner system of claim 79, further comprising: electrically grounding the object; wherein affecting the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame with the inertial electrode to preferentially transfer heat to the object includes imparting electrically charged particles onto the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame such that the electrically charged particles and heat from the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame are electrically attracted to the electrically grounded object.

81 . The method for operating a burner system of claim 79, further comprising: applying an electrical potential to the object;

wherein affecting the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame with the inertial electrode to preferentially transfer heat to the object includes imparting electrically charged particles onto the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame such that the electrically charged particles and heat from the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame are electrically attracted to the electrical potential applied to the object.

82. The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , further comprising: protecting an object from heat from the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame.

83. The method for operating a burner system of claim 82, further comprising: applying an electrical potential to the object;

wherein affecting the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame with the inertial electrode to protect the object from heat from the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame includes imparting electrically charged particles onto the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame such that the electrically charged particles and heat from the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame are electrically repelled from the electrical potential applied to the object.

84. The method for operating a burner system of claim 82, further comprising: applying an electrical potential to a second object spaced away from the object;

wherein affecting the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame with the inertial electrode to protect the object from heat from the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame such that the electrically charged particles and heat from the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame are electrically attracted to the electrical potential applied to the second object spaced away from the object protected from the heat.

85. The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , further comprising: protecting an inertial electrode launcher from exposure to a fluid flow past the flame;

wherein affecting the flame or combustion gas produced by the flame includes providing flame holding with the inertial electrode.

86. The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , further comprising: affecting a shape or location of the flame with the inertial electrode.

87. The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , further comprising: affecting a concentration of the charged particles in the flame.

88. The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , further comprising: reacting at least a portion of the inertial electrode with the flame or the combustion gas.

89. The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , wherein launching the inertial electrode further comprises:

launching a second flame comprising the inertial electrode.

90. The method for operating a burner system of claim 89, further comprising: causing the second flame to carry an inertial electrode majority charge.

91 . The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , wherein launching the inertial electrode further comprises:

vaporizing a liquid carrying an inertial electrode majority charge; and projecting the vaporized liquid or an aerosol of the liquid.

92. The method for operating a burner system of claim 91 , wherein vaporizing the liquid carrying the inertial electrode majority charge includes applying a biased voltage through the liquid between electrodes.

93. The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , wherein launching the inertial electrode further comprises:

propelling solid particles carrying an inertial electrode majority charge.

94. The method for operating a burner system of claim 93, wherein propelling solid particles carrying an inertial electrode majority charge further comprises: entraining the solid particles in a fluid stream; and

depositing the inertial electrode majority charge on the entrained solid particles.

95. The method for operating a burner system of claim 94, wherein the solid particles include at least one of coal, coke, or carbon.

96. The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , wherein launching the inertial electrode further comprises:

energizing a nozzle with an inertial electrode voltage; and

projecting a liquid from the nozzle.

97 The method for operating a burner system of claim 96, wherein the liquid includes water. The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , further comprising actuating a direction of launch of the inertial electrode.

99. The method for operating a burner system of claim 71 , further comprising: actuating a timing, volume, or charge density of the inertial electrode.

100. The method for operating a burner system of claim 70, further comprising: supplying heat from 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.

Description:
INERTIAL ELECTRODE AND SYSTEM

CONFIGURED FOR ELECTRODYNAMIC INTERACTION WITH A FLAME

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority benefit from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/605,691 , entitled "INERTIAL ELECTRODE AND SYSTEM

CONFIGURED FOR ELECTRODYNAMIC INTERACTION WITH A FLAME", filed March 1 , 2012; which, to the extent not inconsistent with the disclosure herein, is incorporated by reference.

SUMMARY

According to an embodiment, a burner system may include a burner configured to support a flame, the flame carrying first charged particles. At least one inertial electrode launcher may be configured to launch an inertial electrode in proximity to the flame or combustion gas produced by the flame. The inertial electrode may include charged particles or may carry a voltage. The inertial electrode may be configured to affect a shape or location of the flame and/or affect a concentration or distribution of the charged particles in the flame.

According to another embodiment, a method for operating a burner system may include supporting a flame with a burner and launching an inertial electrode carrying charged particles or a voltage in proximity to the flame or to a combustion gas produced by the flame. The method may include selecting a charge sign or voltage for the inertial electrode. The sign or charge may include a sequence of different charge signs or voltages. The inertial electrode may affect the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagram of a burner system including an inertial electrode launcher, according to an embodiment.

FIG. 2 is a diagram of an inertial electrode launcher including an inertial electrode burner configured to support inertial electrode formed from a flame, according to an embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a diagram of an inertial electrode launcher configured to vaporize a liquid and launch an inertial electrode including a vapor and/or an aerosol, according to an embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a diagram of an inertial electrode launcher configured to launch an inertial electrode including projected charged solid particles, according to an embodiment.

FIG. 5 is a diagram of an inertial electrode launcher including a nozzle configured to receive a voltage and project an inertial electrode including a liquid carrying the voltage or charged particles corresponding to the voltage, according to an embodiment.

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

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

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.

FIG. 1 is a diagram of a burner system 101 including a burner 102 configured to support a flame 104 and at least one inertial electrode launcher 1 10 configured to launch an inertial electrode 1 12 in proximity to the flame 104 or combustion gas 1 16 produced by the flame. The flame may carry first charged particles 106. The inertial electrode 1 12 may include charged particles 1 14 and/or may carry a voltage. The inertial electrode launcher 1 10 is configured to impart inertia onto the inertial electrode 1 12. The inertia imparted onto the inertial electrode 1 12 and/or the charged particles 1 14 and/or voltage carried by the inertial electrode 1 12 may be selected to cause the flame 104 or the combustion gas stream 1 16 to respond to the inertia, the charged particles 1 14, and/or the voltage carried by the inertial electrode 1 12.

The inertia imparted onto the inertial electrode 1 12, the charged particles 1 14, and/or the voltage carried by the inertial electrode 1 12 may be selected to cause the first charged particles 106 carried by the flame 104 or a combustion gas stream 1 16 to respond to the inertia and to the charged particles 1 14 or voltage carried by the inertial electrode 1 12. Acceleration imparted on the charged particles 106 may be transferred to uncharged particles in the flame 104 or combustion gas 1 16 to produce an overall movement of the flame, change a reaction rate of the flame, flatten the flame, lengthen the flame, bend the flame, affect a location of the flame 104, direct the flame 104 or combustion gas 1 16, or otherwise affect the flame 104 or combustion gas 1 16.

According to an embodiment, the inertial electrode may be selected to impart a majority charge on the flame 104 or on the combustion gas stream 1 16 produced by the flame. As indicated above, the inertial electrode 1 12 may be configured to affect a shape or location of the flame 104 and/or to affect a concentration or

distribution of the charged particles 106 in the flame 104.

Optionally, the inertial electrode launcher 1 10 and inertial electrode 1 12 may respectively include a plurality of inertial electrode launchers 1 10 and inertial electrodes 1 12.

An electrode driver 1 18 may be configured to drive the inertial electrode launcher(s) 1 10. The electrode driver 1 18 may be configured to periodically or intermittently cooperate with the inertial electrode launcher 1 10 to change a concentration of the charged particles 1 14 or the voltage carried by the inertial electrode 1 12. For example, the electrode driver 1 18 may be configured to periodically or intermittently change a sign of the charged particles 1 14 or the voltage carried by the inertial electrode 1 12.

Optionally, the inertial electrode launcher 1 10 may include or be coupled to a directional actuator (not shown) configured to determine a direction the inertial electrode 1 12 is launched by the inertial electrode launcher 1 10. The electrode driver 1 18 may be configured to control the directional actuator.

Optionally, the inertial electrode launcher 1 10 may include a location actuator (not shown) configured to determine a location from which the inertial electrode 1 12 is launched by the inertial electrode launcher 1 10. The electrode driver 1 18 may be configured to control the location actuator.

The burner 102 may include a fuel source 120 configured to provide fuel for the flame 104 and an insulator or gap 122 configured to isolate charges 106 in the flame 104 and charges 1 14 or voltage carried by the inertial electrode 1 12 from ground. A flame holder 124 may be configured to hold the flame 104. For example, the flame holder 124 may be referred to as a bluff body.

The flame 104 may be a diffusion flame, for example. Alternatively, the burner 102 may be configured to at least partially premix the fuel and an oxidizer such as oxygen contained in air.

The burner system 101 may include or be operatively coupled to an object

126 selected to be heated by the flame 104 or selected to be protected from heating by the flame 104. For example, the object 126 may include a furnace wall, a boiler wall, a combustor wall, a heat transfer surface, an air-to-air heat exchanger, an air-to-liquid heat exchanger, a chemical reactor, a sensor, a turbine blade, a fireplace, and/or an object in an environment exposed to the flame 104. The inertial electrode launcher 1 10 may be configured to launch an inertial electrode 1 12 carrying charges 1 14 or a voltage selected to cause the flame 104 or combustion gas 1 16 produced by the flame 104 to transfer relatively more heat to the object 126. Alternatively, the inertial electrode launcher 1 10 may be configured to cause the flame 104 or combustion gas 1 16 to transfer relatively less heat to the object 126. The object 126 may be electrically grounded or may be driven to a voltage. For example, the object 126 may be driven to or held at a voltage having an opposite sign compared to the sign of the charges 1 14 or the voltage carried by the inertial electrode 1 12. Alternatively, the object 126 may be driven to or held at a voltage having the same sign compared to the sign of the charges or the voltage carried by the inertial electrode 1 12. According to other embodiments, the object 126 may be insulated from ground and not driven to a voltage different than a voltage imparted by cooperation of the inertial electrode 1 12 with the flame 104. For example, the object 126 may follow an AC or chopped DC waveform applied by the electrode controller 1 18.

Various assemblies are contemplated with respect to embodiments of the inertial electrode launcher 1 10.

FIG. 2 is a diagram showing an embodiment including an apparatus 201 configured to support a flame 1 12 that acts as a virtual electrode. An inertial electrode burner 202 may at least intermittently or periodically support a flame inertial electrode 1 12. An inertial electrode launcher charging apparatus 204 may be configured to attract from the flame inertial electrode 1 12 charges 206 to create a majority sign of the charged particles 1 14 carried by the flame inertial electrode 1 12 or to add the majority sign charges to the flame inertial electrode. In an embodiment, the charging apparatus 204 may include a depletion electrode energized to the same polarity as the desired majority sign charges. Mobility of the inertial electrode charged particles 1 14 carried by the flame 1 12 may cause the flame inertial electrode 1 12 to carry a measurable voltage.

For example, the inertial electrode launcher depletion electrode 204 may be driven to a positive voltage, attracting negative charges 206 to the inertial electrode launcher depletion electrode 204, leaving positive majority charges 1 14 in the flame inertial electrode 1 12, or at least a portion of the flame inertial electrode 1 12. Conversely, if the inertial electrode launcher depletion electrode 204 is driven to a negative voltage, positive charges 206 may be attracted to the inertial electrode launcher depletion electrode 204, leaving negative majority charges 1 14 in the flame inertial electrode 1 12. Alternatively, the inertial electrode launcher charging apparatus 204 may be configured to output the majority charges to the flame inertial electrode. For example, the inertial launcher charging apparatus may be formed as a corona electrode configured to eject charges having the same sign as the desired flame inertial electrode majority charge.

The inertial electrode launcher charging apparatus 204 may be formed by at least a portion of a boiler wall, or other structure associated with the function of the burner. Alternatively, the inertial electrode launcher charging apparatus 204 may be an extrinsic structure introduced into a burner volume through an air gap or insulated and/or shielded sleeve. According to other embodiments, the inertial electrode launcher charging apparatus 204 may be formed by the inertial electrode burner 202 or by an electrical conductor intrinsic to the inertial electrode burner 202.

The electrode driver 1 18 may be configured to apply a voltage to the electrode launcher charging apparatus 204 to control at least one of the sign or density of the charged particles 1 14 in the flame inertial electrode 1 12.

A valve 208 may be configured to control a flow of fuel to the flame inertial electrode burner 202. The electrode driver 1 18 may be configured to control the valve 208. An igniter or pilot (not shown) may be configured to ignite the flame inertial electrode 1 12 when the valve 208 is opened. An electrical insulator or gap 210 may be configured to electrically isolate the flame inertial electrode 1 12 from ground or another voltage.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the burner system 101 and the inertial electrode burner 202 may be configured according to a "flame-on-flame" architecture where the flame electrode 202 imparts a charge on the flame 104 and/or anchors the flame 104. For example, the inertial electrode burner 202 may be arranged to be protected from a fluid flow past the burner 102. The flame inertial electrode 1 12 may be configured as a flame holder for a flame 104 subject to higher velocity fluid flow. The arrangement for protection of the inertial electrode burner 202 from the fluid flow past the burner 102 may include positioning the inertial electrode burner 202 in the lee of a physical fluid flow barrier (not shown).

FIG. 3 is a diagram of an inertial electrode launcher embodiment 301 where an inertial electrode launcher is configured to project a charged vapor or aerosol virtual electrode 1 12. A body 302 may define a vaporization well 304. First and second electrodes 306a, 306b operatively coupled to an electrode driver 1 18 may be configured to apply a high voltage to a liquid 308 at least temporarily confined by the vaporization well 304 to vaporize the liquid 308 to produce a inertial electrode 1 12 including vapor, aerosol, or vapor and aerosol of the liquid 308 carrying charged particles 1 14. The electrode driver 1 18 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 1 14 carried by the inertial electrode 1 12.

A flow passage 310 may be configured to admit liquid or other vaporizing material 308 to the vaporization well 304. A valve or actuator 312 may be configured to enable a flow of the liquid 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 1 18. The inertial electrode launcher 1 10 may include a nozzle 314 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 1 12. An actuator (not shown) 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 1 12. The actuator (not shown) may be operatively coupled to the electrode driver 1 18

The vaporizing material may include a liquid such as water. The liquid may include a buffer solution or be at least partly functional ized to hold the charge 1 14. The bias voltage may be positive at least intermittently or periodically. A majority of the charged particles 1 14 may carry a positive charge at least intermittently or periodically corresponding to the (positive) bias voltage. Alternatively, the bias voltage may be negative at least intermittently or periodically. A majority of the charged particles 1 14 may carry a negative charge at least intermittently or periodically corresponding to the (negative) bias voltage.

FIG. 4 is a diagram of an embodiment of an inertial electrode launcher configured to project solid particles 406 to a location proximate the flame 104 or combustion gas 1 16. A body 402 may define an orifice 404 from which the solid particles 406 are projected. The projected solid particles 406 may include charged particles 1 14. One or more solid particles may form the inertial electrode 1 12.

The body 402 may include a wall of a furnace or boiler. The body 402 may include refractory material. The orifice 404 may include a Venturi, for example. The solid particles may be configured to be projected by an

entrainment fluid 408 passing through the orifice 404. The entrainment fluid 408 may include air. Additionally or alternatively, the entrainment fluid 408 may include an overfire oxidizer.

A particle channel 410 may be positioned adjacent to the orifice 404. The solid particles 406 may be injected into a passing entrainment fluid at the orifice 404 through the particle channel 410. The electrode driver 1 18 may be operatively coupled to the inertial electrode launcher 401 . The particle valve 412 may be operatively coupled to the electrode driver 1 18. The electrode driver 1 18 may be configured to control at least one of a rate of flow of particles through the particle channel 410 or a periodic or intermittent particle flow through the particle channel 410. A corona surface 414 may be configured to be driven to sufficient voltage to cause an emission of charges. At least some of the charges emitted by the corona may be deposited on the solid particles 406. The corona surface 414 may include a corona wire, corotron, and/or scorotron. The electrode driver 1 18 may be configured to control the voltage to which the corona surface 414 is driven.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 4, a voltage sign to which the corona surface 414 is driven and the charge sign of the majority charged particles 1 14 carried by the inertial electrode 1 12 may be the same as a voltage carried by an object 126. Alternatively, the voltage sign to which the corona surface 414 is driven and the charge sign of the majority charged particles 1 14 carried by the inertial electrode 1 12 may be opposite to a voltage carried by the object 126.

An actuator (not shown) may be configured to align the orifice 404 to an intended direction of travel 416 of the charged solid particles 406 forming the inertial electrode 1 12. The actuator may be operatively coupled to the electrode driver 1 18. One or more steering electrodes (not shown) may be operatively coupled to the electrode driver 1 18. The electrode driver 1 18 may be configured to energize the one or more steering electrodes (not shown) to deflect the charged solid particles 406 forming the inertial electrode 1 12 toward an intended direction of travel 416.

Optionally, the orifice 404 may be arranged to be protected from a fluid flow past the burner 102. The inertial electrode 1 12 may be configured as a flame holder for the flame 104. The arrangement for protection of the orifice 404 from the fluid flow past the burner 102 may include positioning the inertial electrode launcher 1 10 in the lee of a physical fluid flow barrier (not shown). The particles 406 may include coal, coke, or carbon. Additionally or alternatively, the particles 406 may be selected to react in the flame 104 or with combustion gas 1 16 produced by the flame 104.

FIG. 5 is diagram showing an embodiment of the inertial electrode launcher 1 10 formed as a nozzle 502 configured to at least intermittently or periodically receive a voltage from the electrode driver 1 18 and to expel a fluid 510 carrying charged particles 1 14 and/or a voltage. The fluid carrying the charged particles and/or voltage may form the inertial electrode 1 12. The fluid 510 may include a liquid such as water. The fluid 510 may include a buffer or be functionalized to hold the charge.

The burner system 101 may include a valve 504 operatively coupled to the electrode driver 1 18 and a fluid supply system 506 in communication with the nozzle 502 through the valve 504. The valve may be configured to respond to an actuation signal from the electrode driver 1 18 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. The fluid supply system 506 may include tank 508 to hold the fluid 510, the tank being made of an electrically insulating material or being 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.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 5, the burner system 101 may include an object 126 configured to be held at a voltage disposed proximate to the flame 104 or combustion gas 1 16 produced by the flame 104. A voltage sign to which the nozzle 502 is driven and the majority charge sign of the fluid charges 1 14 carried by the inertial electrode 1 12 may be the same as a sign of the voltage held by the object 126. Alternatively, the voltage sign to which the nozzle 502 is driven and the majority charge sign of the fluid charges 1 14 carried by the inertial electrode 1 12 may be opposite of a sign of the voltage held by the object 126.

The fluid may form the inertial electrode 1 12 as a stream emitted from the nozzle 502. An actuator (not shown) operatively coupled to the electrode driver 1 18 may be configured to align the nozzle 502 to an intended direction of travel of the inertial electrode 1 12.

FIG. 6 is a flowchart showing a method 601 for operating a burner system 101 , according to an embodiment. The method 601 may begin with step 602 wherein a flame may be supported with a burner. Proceeding to step 604, a charge sign or voltage maybe be selected for an inertial electrode. Selecting a charge sign or voltage for the inertial electrode may include selecting a sequence of different charge signs or voltages. Selecting a charge sign or voltage for the inertial electrode may include selecting a time-varying sign of the charged particles or voltage carried by the inertial electrode. For example, step 604 may include selecting an alternating current (AC) voltage waveform, a chopped DC waveform, or other time-varying or periodic voltage that imparts a charge, charge concentration, or voltage variation on the inertial electrode.

Proceeding to step 606, the inertial electrode may be launched in proximity to the flame or combustion gas produced by the flame. A selected time-varying sign of the charged particles or voltage selected in step 604 may be carried by the inertial electrode launched in step 606. For inertial electrodes that are non-continuous, the start of inertial electrode projection may tend to include a voltage or charge concentration corresponding to the portion of the waveform corresponding to onset of electrode projection, with the charge concentration or voltage in the inertial electrode then varying with the voltage applied to the inertial electrode launcher until the inertial electrode projection is again shut off. Alternatively, a voltage applied to all or a portion of the inertial electrode launcher may be held continuous, and the timing of application of a correspondingly charged or voltage carrying inertial electrode to proximity to the flame or combustion gas may be determined by controlling the timing of inertial electrode on and inertial electrode off times.

Proceeding to step 608, the flame or combustion gas produced by the flame may be affected by the inertial electrode. For example, the flame may include at least transiently present charged particles (such as in charge-balanced proportion or as a majority charge). A variety of ways for the flame or the combustion gas to be affected by the inertial electrode are contemplated. For example, the inertial electrode may affect a rate of reaction by interaction in the flame. Additionally or alternatively, a shape of the flame or a flow direction of the combustion gas may vary responsive to the inertial electrode.

The inertial electrode may cause the flame or combustion gas to

preferentially transfer heat to the object. The object may be electrically grounded. The inertial electrode may impart electrically charged particles onto the flame or the combustion gas such that the electrically charged particles and heat from the flame or the combustion gas is electrically attracted to the electrically grounded object to preferentially provide the heat.

Additionally, step 608 may include applying an electrical potential to the object. Applying an electrical potential to the object may affect the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame with the inertial electrode. This may preferentially transfer heat to the object and may include imparting electrically charged particles onto the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame such that the electrically charged particles and heat from the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame may be electrically attracted to the electrical potential applied to the object. Alternatively (or intermittently), the inertial electrode may be operative to protect the object from heat. For example, the inertial electrode may impart electrically charged particles onto the flame or the combustion gas such that the electrically charged particles and heat from the flame or the combustion gas are electrically repelled from the electrical potential applied to the object.

Proceeding to step 610, heat from the flame or from the combustion gas may be supplied to an object. In step 610 an object may additionally or alternatively be protected from heat from the flame or the combustion gas. For example, heat from the flame may be supplied 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. Protection from heat may be enabled for purposes of throttling an effect, for shutting down a process, or for protecting the object from overheating.

Optionally, the method for operating a burner system 601 may include applying an electrical potential to a second object (not shown) spaced away from the object. In step 608 affecting the flame or the combustion gas produced by the flame with the inertial electrode to protect the object from heat from the flame or the combustion gas may be performed by selecting a sign for the electrically charged particles and therefore the heat from the flame or the combustion gas to be electrically attracted to the electrical potential applied to the second object spaced away from the object protected from the heat.

Optionally, the inertial electrode launcher may be protected from exposure to a fluid flow past the flame. Affecting the flame or combustion gas produced by the flame in step 608 may include providing flame holding with the inertial electrode. 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.

Step 608, affecting a shape or location of the flame with the inertial electrode may include affecting a concentration of the charged particles in the flame. Additionally, step 608 may include reacting at least a portion of the inertial electrode with the flame or the combustion gas. In some embodiments, the burner may be held or driven to a voltage such as ground. Interactions between the flame and the inertial electrode may be based on differences between a majority charge or voltage carried by the inertial electrode and the balanced charge or (e.g., ground) voltage carried by the flame.

As described above, various forms of inertial electrodes are contemplated. In step 606, launching the inertial electrode may include launching a second flame comprising an inertial electrode (e.g., see FIG. 2). This may cause the second flame to carry an inertial electrode majority charge or inertial electrode voltage.

Alternatively, as illustrated in FIG. 3, launching the inertial electrode in step 606 may include vaporizing a liquid or other vaporizing material with high voltage. Vaporization may be performed by applying a biased voltage through the vaporizing material between electrodes. The vaporization may project a vapor or aerosol carrying charges corresponding to the voltage bias.

Alternatively, step 606 may include propelling charged solid particles, as shown in FIG. 4. The charged solid particles may carry a majority charge and may collectively form the inertial electrode. The solid particles may be entrained in a fluid stream. A majority charge may be deposited on the entrained solid particles, for example by passing the particles along or past a corona emission source such as a simple corona wire, corotron, or scorotron. The solid particles may include coal, coke, and/or carbon; and/or may include another material such as a salt selected to react with the flame and/or with a combustion byproduct.

Alternatively, launching an inertial electrode may include energizing a nozzle with an inertial electrode voltage and projecting a liquid from the nozzle. This approach is illustrated in FIG. 5, above. The liquid may include water, a buffered solution, a slurry, a gel, a fuel, and/or another material capable of flowing through the nozzle.

Optionally, the method 601 may include selecting or varying a direction of launch of the inertial electrode with an actuator (not shown). Additionally or alternatively, the method 601 may include selecting or actuating a timing, volume, flow duration, charge or voltage sign, or charge density of the inertial electrode.

While various aspects and embodiments have been disclosed herein, other aspects and embodiments are contemplated. The various aspects and embodiments disclosed herein are for purposes of illustration and are not intended to be limiting, with the true scope and spirit being indicated by the following claims.