Close Spacing Enclosed Combustors

How much room does an enclosed combustor take up?

Traditionally flares or incinerators were the only way to eliminate stranded gas on-site, and they needed to be spaced, at a minimum, 50-meters from the wellhead or tanks.  Nowadays, producers have the luxury of an enclosed combustor that can be spaced at 10-meters. This variance from 50-meters comes with several design requirements and testing to ensure safety and performance.

Alberta Energy Regulator was the first regulatory body to introduce setback requirements and standardize mandatory safety design features.  With the release of Directive 60, producers learned that they no longer needed to apply for a variance. Instead, they could ensure the enclosed combustors they were installing on-site met the minimum requirements set out in Directive 60.  Other jurisdictions in North America are actively pursuing similar setbacks to Alberta as it will reduce the administrative burden variance requests have.

What are the design requirements, and how do manufacturers prove it?

Directive 60 lists the design requirements in Section 7. The manufacturers’ engineer is responsible for ensuring the below design features are met before installing on location.

  • All intakes have an air arresting device.
  • Totally enclosed combustion, no visible flame.
  • All surfaces exposed to the atmosphere must
    • operate below the temperature that would ignite a flammable substance present in the surrounding area, or
    • be shielded or blanketed in such a way to prevent a flammable substance present in the surrounding area from contacting the surface.
  • Exhaust gases must be below the auto-ignition temperature of a flammable substance present in the surrounding area.

Should all of these features be met, the enclosed combustor is allowed to be installed at 10-meters from the wellhead or tanks.

Some jurisdictions will vary slightly on these requirements for close spacing.  This may involve an engineer’s approval for reduced spacing or variance requests to the local authority.

Flares are spaced 50-meters from wellhead or tanks (25-meters on crude bitumen batteries)

10-Meter Reduced Spacing for Enclosed Combustors

What are the cost considerations when close spacing?

Using an enclosed combustor will considerably reduce the site footprint. Reducing your site footprint has several benefits that ultimately translate to lower setup costs:

  • It reduces the site footprint.
    • It reduces surface work.
  • It reduces piping & electrical.
  • It reduced pipe insulation and heat trace.

Not only will an enclosed combustor provide you with a lower setup cost, but a compact site will also be more aesthetic for neighbours and operators.

Our ERX Combustors are affordable and quite often compare in costs to flares. They take up less room on-site and are designed with several features to maintain a high level of safety for operators and the surrounding environment.

Choose ERX Combustors for your site and experience the benefits of high-performance combustion with a small footprint.