The energy and process efficiency of high-temperature industrial furnaces like those used in US foundaries, can be improved by using oxy-fuel combustion, according to a recent briefing by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

Using oxy-fuel firing technology in high-temperature combustion is thought to have considerable energy, cost-saving and environmental benefits. The technology can, as noted in the DOE Industrial Technologies Program, reduce the amount of fuel needed in furnaces by up to 50 percent in many cases.

It is also believed that oxy-fuel firing can reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by as much as 90 percent in certain applications.

Oxygen-enhanced combustion technology actually appeared on the scene several decades ago, but was not widely used at the time due to technical and cost issues.