The Babington Airtronic Burner represents the state-of-the-art in liquid fuel burner technology. It is the cleanest, safest and most energy-efficient distillate fuel burner available.
A bold claim to be sure, but here's proof.
Principles of Combustion
An oil burner is a combustion machine. Its purpose is to promote efficient combustion of fuel oil and generate heat. It takes three things to make a fire: fuel, air and an ignition source. It takes a fourth element to make a clean fire: finely atomized fuel.
To burn any liquid fuel means converting the liquid to a gaseous state, mixing it with air and igniting. Good atomization – the process of separating a liquid into tiny particles or a fine mist—is fundamental to good combustion, and combustion efficiency is directly related to liquid particle size. This is where the Babington Airtronic excels in a unique and innovative way.
In a patent filed in the late 60s, Bob Babington defined a physical phenomenon called the Babington Atomization Principle that inspired future innovations in combustion technology and liquid atomization.
Inspired by Nature
To understand how the Babington Atomization Principle works, think of the majestic whale. As a whale breaches the surface of the ocean, a thin layer of water covers its blowhole. When the whale forces the air through the hole, it creates a misty spray. The Airtronic mimics this by flowing a thin layer of fuel over a convex surface, which has a tiny laser-cut hole. Clean air is forced through the hole creating a spray so fine that when burned, it creates no smoke, and no odor or carbon monoxide. And since the fuel flows over the hole instead of through it, there is no danger of the hole ever becoming clogged or contaminated.
Engineers call what the Babington Airtronic achieves with the patented Babington atomization principle, near perfect or near stoichiometric combustion.
By contrast, conventional burners rely on high pressure nozzles to produce spray by forcing the liquid fuel through a nozzle—resulting in course droplets of varying sizes and complicating the clean combustion process. Carbon monoxide, smoke, soot and other noxious (and harmful) fumes are the byproduct of an inefficient combustion process. Furthermore, high pressure burner nozzles are susceptible to clogging.
The Babington Airtronic burner, with its low pressure air atomization technique creates a super-fine mist with dramatically smaller droplets than the conventional high pressure oil burner nozzle. It has been calculated that an Airtronic produced droplet contains 1,000 times less fuel than the average droplet from a high pressure nozzle. This dramatic reduction in droplet size and fuel content means that these small droplets burn almost instantaneously. The fuel droplets simply don't have time to smolder into smoke and soot.
Burner and Heat Exchanger Together – a Systems Integration
Making a clean fire is nice – but now we have to do something with the heat energy that is generated. Just like a computer needs both hardware and software working together, an efficient and safe heating appliance must be designed for a burner and heat exchanger in mind.
Heat exchanger technology must be designed to maximize the performance capabilities of the burner. In the case of the Babington Airtronic burner, the low pressure burner characteristics work best with small, compact heat exchangers. This enables mobility, limits special restrictions and increases heat transfer efficiency. The Babington Airtronic burner can burn cleanly and efficiently within a firebox the size of a small shoebox.
The heart and soul of the Airtronic burner is the Babington Atomization Principle. This unique approach to producing ultra-fine liquid atomization enables the Babington Airtronic burner to achieve unparalleled efficiency and smokeless performance with virtually any liquid fuel.
- Can take any liquid fuel and burn it like a gas
- Combustion efficiency is directly related to liquid particle size--Put simply, the smaller the particle size, the more efficiently and completely the fuel burners. The Super fine particles or droplets of fuel created by the Babington atomization process leads to complete combustion
- With conventional “high pressure” nozzles, the liquid is forced through small opening by means of hydraulic pressure. This high pressure method produces a non-uniform spray, with droplets of varying sizes, that is more susceptible to contaminants, especially at lower pressure
- Improved vaporization, better fuel air mixing and overall more efficient and near-perfect combustion
- Generates liquid particles that are created that are less than 10 microns in size
- Dual atomizers are employed, creating two spray flames that converge in a flame tube to create aerodynamic flame holder with excellent combustion stability.
- Near stoichiometric combustion without smoke
- Stoichiometric combustion is the ideal process where fuel is burned completely. Unburned hydrocarbons create smoke, odor and noxious pollutants in the atmosphere.
Features & contrasts to high-pressure nozzles
- Capable of converting any liquid into the form of an extremely fine mist to be burned more completely and efficiently
- Produces spray of miniscule spherical droplets of uniform size and shape (monodisperse) that has the characteristic of natural fog
- Is able to produce a spray device of mechanical and operating simplicity and reliability
- Capable of handling wide range of fluid viscosities and while still operating efficiently. For example, the Babington Airtronic Burner can cleanly and efficiently burn high viscosity oils, even at very low temps.
- Capable of operating at very low air flow or modest pressure (as little as 3 psi)
- Is capable of ensuring better spay distribution and uniformity
- Performs at the lowest – .2 GPH (gallons per hour) of any burner on the market. The operational deficiencies of conventional burners to fire reliably at firing rates below 0.5 GPH (70,000 BTU/HR) can be traced directly to the fuel spray nozzle limitation. At firing rates below 0.5 GPH the nozzle discharge orifice becomes so small that it is highly susceptible to clogging. The Airtronic burner has no nozzle and consequently no clogging problems and no lower limit with respect to firing rate.
- Fuel overflow drains into a reservoir, where it is recirculated.
- The burner is adaptable to virtually any heating appliance
Many of Babington’s inventions stem from the patented Babington Atomization Principle Bob Babington discovered in the late 60s.
One of the key features of the Babington Principle is its adaptability to new applications. Early on, many people saw the potential to apply the technology to various industries and uses, from medical nebulization and atmosphere humidification to food and chemical processing to insecticide aerosol dispersion. The possibilities seemed and are endless. Indeed, from the beginning, it was recognized that the invention has utility in any area where it is desired to disperse a liquid in the form of an extremely fine spray into a gaseous medium.
Now known as the Babington Atomization Principle, this revolutionary new invention defined a unique and innovative way to create a super-fine spray out of virtually any liquid. And the technology has garnered interest from many industry sectors.
Although potential fields of application for the Babington Atomization Principle seem limitless, Bob chose to concentrate the majority of his commercial efforts on three specific areas: medical aerosols, home heating and military field feeding.
Medical aerosols are used primarily to deliver drugs to the upper airways and the lungs and to wet down the airways of patients who have diseases like Cystic Fibrosis or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The failure of competitive products to perform in these applications is due to their inability to generate sufficiently small particles AND their lack of uniformity in particle size. These two shortcomings prevent moisture and medications from reaching deeply enough into the patients airways to have optimal effect.
While conventional aerosols generate some small particles, they also generate many large particles of 10 microns or more that "rain out" in the patient's upper airways. This prevents delivery of moisture and drugs to the deep lobes of the lungs or the alveoli. By comparison, the Babington nebulizers produce particles in the sub-micron range that are ideally suited for deep penetration to the alveoli where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place. As a result, medical practitioners were assured that 100% of the medication and solution were used effectively.
In addition to the small and uniform particle size, the Babington nebulizer can deliver larger amounts of solution per unit of time than competitors simply by increasing the amount of entrained air. This creates a drop in temperature through evaporative cooling which is a significant advantage in cooling patients in mist tents--especially Cystic Fibrosis patients that require loosening of deposits in mucosal tissue.
Babington's hospital based products were controlled by the Respiratory Therapy Department and were strongly supported by the therapists. The Hydro Sphere was the first product to be introduced and was employed for routine procedures. The Maxi Cool was the second product and was used primarily in mist tents to cool Cystic Fibrosis patients and to loosen their heavy mucosal deposits. The Solosphere was a small wall-mounted nebulizer used at the patient's bedside for medical treatments and humidification of patients on oxygen. The National Cystic Fibrosis Research Foundation and the National Institutes of Health were strong advocates of the Babington nebulizer program.
In 1983, Bob Babington was invited to demonstrate his revolutionary oil burner technology to Electro-Oil of Sweden.
Almost as soon as the demonstration was concluded, Babington and Electro-oil struck an agreement. By 1990, more than 10,000 homes in Sweden, Norway and Finland were enjoying the benefits of clean and efficient oil-heat, courtesy of the Babington Airtronic burner. During late 2010, the Airtronic burner and several of its associated appliances were submitted to Underwriter's Laboratory for commercial safety certification. In June of 2011, the National Oil-Heat Research Alliance (NORA) awarded Babington Technology a grant to develop a high efficiency home heating unit incorporating the Airtronic burner. At long last, the Airtronic burner is being recognized in the land of its birth, the United States of America.
Military "Heat-on-the-move" and Field Feeding Operations
The patented and innovative features of the Airtronic Burner make it better suited to Military heat-on-the-move, field feeding and sanitizing operations than any other burner. In 1994, Babington Technology introduced the Tray Ration Heater prototype to the U.S. Marine Corps and one year later, in 1995, the Marine Corps contracted for more than 470 Tray Ration Heating Systems (TRHS).
The Tray Ration Heater is designed to heat military group rations on the move, while mounted in the back of a HUMVEE. In this manner, the HUMVEE can meet up with Marines anywhere on the battlefield and immediately begin serving a hot meal.
The Airtronic Burner provides the heat to the tray ration heater, using military JP-8 as its primary fuel. This ability to heat meals on the move, greatly reduced the Marine Corps logistics train, saving time, manpower and fuel. The TRHS also brought welcome relief to the Marines who had, until then, been forced to subsist on packaged operational rations, or Meals, Ready to Eat (MRE) for weeks at a time.
The Tray Ration Heater was singled out by Marine Commanders in both IRAQ wars and Afghanistan as being essential to the success of their combat missions.? U.S. Army commanders were so impressed by the Marines success with the Tray Ration Heater that they are currently fielding several hundred of what will be more than two thousand systems of their own. The U.S. Air Force designed their Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen around the Babington Tray Ration Heater and Field Sanitation Unit. The Babington TRH is now in use by all branches of the U.S. Military, including the Coast Guard.
Today, Babington Technology supplies all every branch of the U.S. Military with a variety of heat-on-the-move field feeding equipment.
The Airtronic burner has been in use by the U.S. Military since 1996 and powers all of the Babington appliances from the Tray Ration Heater to the Field Sanitation Unit, and now it powers all the appliances in the Disaster Relief Mobile Kitchen Trailer, including the Quiet Griddle, Tilt Skillet and the Quiet Convection Oven.