Ions Increase Fuel Efficiency

Ionic Fuel Technology is a small public U.S. company (NASDAQ-IFTI) with a device that substantially increases the efficiency of any hydrocarbon fueled burner. This is proven, operational, commercial technology that can be used/retrofit with any boiler technology, regardless of/in addition to other (emissions control) equipment. To date, operations and sales have been almost entirely in the UK and Europe.

Payback is invariably less than 24 months, and sometimes as little as 6 months. In the case of rental, the customer sees a positive cash flow immediately.

They have not yet done a large utility boiler, although PowerGen is about to undertake a field test on a 250 tons (steam)/hr boiler. The only activity in the U.S. was an experiment with AES on a fluid bed pulverized coal (PC) plant which was not successful. In fact, PC remains a challenge for the company–they suspect the injected charge might be canceled by the intense electrostatic activity of the powdered coal.

The company originally applied the device on diesel engines, and was able to demonstrate 10% fuel savings. They weren’t able, however, to interest the diesel engine makers. The opportunity remains, and could be particularly useful for gen sets and locomotives. The company has a small unit that would be directly applicable.

After seeing a Sept. 2 press release, UFTO contacted the company’s chairman, Mr. Doug Johnston (New Canaan CT, 203-966-6004), and learned that IFT wants to identify a joint venture partner for the U.S.

The company does not have a website, but SEC filings are available on line, and the company can send an extensive information package. Current market capitalization is just over $5 Million, with the stock price under $1 from a high last year over $5.


The company announced on September 1 that Texaco successfully completed a long-term (2 year) evaluation of the system. The previously purchased unit was installed on one of seven boilers located at Texaco’s 180,000 barrel per day Pembroke Refinery in South West Wales. The Foster Wheeler boiler is rated at 175,000 pounds of steam per hour burning heavy fuel and refinery gas. The IFT system increased the boiler’s thermal efficiency by 4.5 percent resulting in fuel savings of the same magnitude. Additionally, annual emission of greenhouse gas (CO2) was reduced by 2,700 tons and nitrogen oxide (NOx) by over 6 tons. The reduction in “greenhouse gas” and NOx emissions contributes toward Texaco’s objective of progressively improving the refinery’s environmental performance.

IFT and BP Energy have signed a Business Alliance after successful tests at a BP Chemicals 250 tons/hr boiler in the UK. BP Energy has ordered a unit on behalf of a Scottish paper mill. The company also has agreements with a service and marketing firm in Belgium, a long term rental agreement with a brewer in Germany, and has received orders from BMW and a UK brewer. A large pharmaceutical company in the UK has been using an IFT system for more than a year.

The system does not involve water or steam injection, chemical injection or additive, or an electric or magnetic field.

—- (From the company’s 10-K) —-

The IFT System, which is attached to a customer’s heating or power generation equipment, produces negatively charged ions (“Ions”) by passing an air flow over a body of vibrating liquid and into the combustion chamber or air intake of the customer’s machinery. The ionized air supply accelerates the normal combustion process. As a result of the improved combustion, the amount of air and fuel supplied to the burner can be reduced while still maintaining a constant measure of power output. This reduction of air and fuel decreases fuel consumption as well as the production of NOX CO and CO2 and when burning fuel oil, fireside coking and particulate emissions are also reduced.

The IFT System is self contained in a cube-shaped metal cabinet. The System’s interior mechanism vibrates the surface of a liquid contained inside the cabinet. The vibrating liquid releases negatively charged Ions that are then delivered to the customer’s equipment through a connection placed either adjacent to the boiler’s combustion chamber or to the boiler’s air intake mechanism.

The System is available in eight sizes ranging from 15″ x 12″ x 16″ to 43″ x 3 1-5″ x 35″. Such sizes are suitable for boilers generating from approximately 1,000 lbs. of steam per hour to approximately 96,000 lbs. of steam per hour. Multiple Systems are used when either the boiler has more than one burner or the boiler’s power generating capacity exceeds the capacity of the largest IFT System. The System generally requires only a routine servicing every six months and may be leased or purchased.

Typical performance results of the System reveal a reduction in NOx. emissions [up to 6%], a reduction in CO emissions ranging from 6% to 80%, a reduction in CO2 emissions ranging from 2 1/2% to 7%, a reduction in particulate emissions ranging from 6% to 40% and a reduction in fuel consumption ranging from 2 1/2% to 7%. The exact performance of the System depends upon the customer’s existing equipment and desired objectives; customers may achieve less favorable results or no improvement if their equipment requires repair or if fuel and air flows cannot be closely controlled. If NOx and CO emissions have been reduced by the use of other equipment, the System may be used to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. CO2 emission reduction correlates directly with the fuel savings which the IFT System provides.

Flue gas heat recovery and air pollution control

Simple in concept, FLU-ACE has accomplished something that many others have tried unsuccessfully to do for a long time, and they have plants that have been operating for over 10 years. Their condensing heat exchanger system replaces the stack in combustion systems, recovering almost all of the waste heat, and removing most of the emissions. With modifications, it even can remove up to 50% of the CO2.

It can be thought of as pollution control that pays for itself in fuel savings–or visa versa. Water is sprayed into the hot flue gas, both cooling and cleaning it. The water is then collected, passed through a heat exchanger to recover the heat, and treated to neutralize the acidity and remove contaminants.

Condensing heat exchangers aren’t new, but they normally can be used only when the hot gas is reasonably clean. FLU-ACE can handle any kind of gas, even if it contains particulates, acids and unburned hydrocarbons. Conventional wisdom holds that corrosion, plugging and clogging should defeat this approach, but FLU-ACE has overcome problems with its patented design. Systems show no degradation after years of operation. It has even been qualified for use with biomedical incinerator exhaust.

Industrial boilers and cogeneration plants are ideal applications. The installed base includes district heating systems, sewage treatment plants, hospitals, pulp and paper mills, and university campuses. Heat recovery is even greater when the exhaust gas is high in moisture content, e.g. in paper mills and sewage treatment. The largest system to date is 15 MW thermal, but there is no limit on the size.

A fossil power plant could use about 15% of the recovered heat for makeup water heating, so the economics are better when there are nearby uses for the heat. The company really wants to do a coal burning power plant–a slipstream demo could be the first step.

The company is a small publicly traded Canadian firm (symbol TMG – Alberta Stock Exchange). They have a dormant U.S. subsidiary, and are seeking U.S. partners, joint ventures and alliances for market expansion.

For further information:
Gustav Pliva, Exec. Vice President
Thermal Energy International Inc.
Neapean (Ottawa), Ontario, Canada
613-723-6776 Fax: 613-723-7286 E-mail:
Web Site –

(UFTO first reported on FLU ACE in October ’95)
The following materials are excerpted from the company’s website:

The unique FLU-ACE technology is a combined heat recovery and air pollution control system, which recovers up to 90% of the heat normally wasted in hot chimney flue gases. FLU-ACE substantially reduces the emission of “Greenhouse Gases” (including C02), “Acid Gases” (including SOx), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), unburned hydrocarbons (such as THC and VOCs), and particulates (such as soot and fly ash). It eliminates the need for a conventional tall smoke stack or chimney.

Thermal Energy International Inc. has built eleven FLU-ACE Air Pollution Control and Heat Recovery Systems in Canada. All of Thermal’s FLU-ACE installations in Ontario have been approved by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy. The life expectancy of the FLU-ACE system is at least thirty-five to forty years. In December 1997, the company received patent protection in 42 countries; the US patent is expected early in 1998.

Low NOx FLU-ACE provides a payback on investment and is self financing from the savings that it generates for the industry user. The company is able to provide “Off-Balance” Sheet financing or 3rd party financing options for acquisition of its FLU-ACE technology by industrial and institutional buyers.

Using a direct-contact gas-to-liquid mass transfer and heat exchange concept, the system is designed to process flue gas from combustion of fossil fuels, waste derived fuels, waste, biomass, etc. The FLU-ACE System is configured as a corrosion resistant alloy steel tower at a fraction of the size of any conventional stack. All of the hot flue gas from one source or multiple sources (including co-gen and boilers) are redirected into the FLU-ACE tower, where it is cooled to within one to two degrees of the primary water return temperature, which enters the tower typically at between 16°C (60°F) and 32°C (90°F) depending on the season and outside air temperature. The heat (both latent and sensible) from the flue gas is transferred to the primary water which then reaches up to 63°C (145°F) and with special design up to 85°C (185°F), and circulated to various heat users.

FLU-ACE most sophisticated version (HP) reduces air pollutant emissions by over 99% including particulate down to 0.3 micrometers in size, and simultaneously recovers 80-90% of the heat in the flue gas normally exhausted into the atmosphere. This results in a reduction of fuel consumption by the facility up to 50%.