In 2001 the IFRF commenced a programme of research aimed at providing information which industries could use to improve the thermal efficiency of their heating processes, reduce costs, NOx emissions and net CO2 emissions. This was the IFRF High Efficiency Combustion Research Programme. Following from developments at IJmuiden the research was based on the application of modern regenerative burners operating in the “flameless” mode. In the work described in this paper the IFRF cooperated with Corus RD&T and Gasunie Engineering & Technologies; the specific industrial application envisaged was steel slab-reheating, in particular, pusher type furnaces.

The IFRF set up a 1MW semi-industrial scale test facility to simulate the reheating process equipped with two commercially available High Efficiency Combustion (HEC) burners. This paper gives details of the facility design and operation and the measurement capability with details of the results of both natural gas and coke oven gas firing campaigns.

In order to investigate the application of the experience gained in the experimental investigations to a pusher type slab-reheating furnace, CFD modelling was developed based on a commercial code. Details of these developments and the application of the model are described. Finally there is a comparison between the operational data of a conventionally fired furnace and the predicted HEC fired furnace, with analysis of the gains to be made, leading to conclusions and the planning of a full scale application.