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Technique for measuring the properties of flames wins global award for innovation

Professor Yong Yan and Dr Gang Lu from the Department of Electronics at the University of Kent have won a global award for innovation at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) annual Innovation in Engineering Awards.

Professor Yan and Dr Lu won their Power/Energy award for developing a new way of measuring the properties of flames in large industrial buildings, such as power stations. Combining simple optical components with highly advanced image processing software, they can now establish in real time its stability and pollution performance. This offers enormous benefits enabling the facility to operate more efficiently, as well as reduce the environmental impact.

The judges recognised that the Kent entry was innovative by using software and processing algorithms to provide usable information for engineers and power station operators to improve efficiency. This technology also has the potential to have a significant environmental impact by achieving lower atmospheric emissions.

Shortly after receiving his award Professor Yan said, ‘I am delighted that our high-level research in combustion flame imaging has been recognised by the IET. Of course, a number of funding bodies have provided substantial financial support for our work over the past 10 years, including the Department of Trade and Industry, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the British Coal Utilisation Research Association, the Leverhulme Trust and the Royal Society. Our work was also well supported by leading power generation organisations such as RWE npower, E.ON and Mitsui Babcock. We could not have advanced the technology this far without their effective and long-term support.’

Dr Lu said, ‘I’m very pleased at receiving this IET award. We have been working very hard for years to reach this stage. Our flame imaging systems have been well tested on a range of combustion test facilities. We are now developing the technique so that the systems give not only the physical measurements of flames but also the quantified information of their chemical properties. Meanwhile, the systems are being made more compact and suitable for installation under a wider range of plant configurations.’

Professor Yan and Dr Lu received their award at a ceremony at the IET’s London HQ in Savoy Place. Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Science and Innovation at the DTI, attended the ceremony.

Karen Baxter | alfa
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