Earthmoving News, Environment & Research, Machinery News, Road Building

World’s first hydrogen burner for road building

Benninghoven’s hydrogen burner system removes emissions from asphalt production

Benninghoven, a Wirtgen company, has developed what it says is the world’s first burner that can be run entirely on green hydrogen. Its first commercial user has already produced several thousand tonnes of asphalt with virtually no emissions.

Asphalt production requires a thermal process. Industrial burners heat and remove the moisture from the starting material – mineral and/or reclaimed asphalt – before mixing it with bitumen. To make this process as efficient as possible, Benninghoven has developed a new burner generation that comprises the burner as well as the control system and the drying system. Up to four different fuels can be used at the same time with this system. This flexible use increases the economic efficiency as the plant owner can always use the optimum available energy source at any given time.

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The hydrogen burner from Benninghoven is supplied with an intelligent control system, as the coordinated hardware and software solution ensures an efficient asphalt production process. This includes, among other things, controlling the feed systems including the pressure regulating section and the drying section with burner and the burner control. Fuels or fuel combinations can be changed on the fly, i.e. without a shutdown, without downtime and with minimised temperature fluctuations in the process. The emissions, especially the nitrogen oxides (NOX) produced during firing with hydrogen, are very low.

Prototype test on the burner test rig at the Benninghoven factory. Image: Wirtgen Group

Benninghoven has reduced the electrical power consumption by 20 per cent, while retaining the same feed capacity. The efficiency of the heat transfer was increased significantly through optimum use of the combustion chamber and a burner control and design that ensure an optimum flame with any energy source.

Green hydrogen is currently the most sustainable fuel available, Benninghoven says. It generates no greenhouse gases and its high energy density makes it ideal for the thermal process.

The burner technologies from Benninghoven can be used in new plants as well as in existing asphalt mixing plants. Retrofit solutions can also be added to plants from other manufacturers.

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