Flare Ignition Systems

ABB's Flare Ballistic Ignition system

Flare ballistic ignition system (click picture for a short video clip)

An important feature of every flare system is its ignition system.  With more and more facilities operating flare gas recovery systems with “zero flaring”, there is increased pressure on the reliability of the flare ignition system to be functional when called upon during a plant upset, blowdown or emergency shutdown.

Argo Flare Services can provide manual or automatic flare ignition systems and offer a support and spares supply service for existing equipment. With very few exceptions, Argo Flare Services will also recommend suitable pilot burners and associated flame monitoring equipment in order to maximise system reliability.

The most common flare ignition systems are described below:

Flame Front Generator (sometimes referred to as the ’fire ball’ ignition type).
With this system compressed air (generally instrument or plant air) and fuel gas are metered through control valves into a mixing chamber located on a panel at grade. Downstream of the mixing chamber there is a sparking/ignition device. A dedicated flame front line connects to the pilot burner nozzle. The gas / air mix in the combustion chamber is ignited and the flame front ‘fire ball’ generated. The flame front then travels along the flame front line to the pilot burner and ignites the pilot. The great advantage of the compressed air flame front generator is that the flow controls and the sparking device are at grade and can be serviced while the flare is in operation. Manual or automated version are available from Argo Flare Services.

Electronic Ignition
Electronic spark ignition of a flare pilot burner is simple and easy to automate and more frequently becoming the preferred flare ignition method.  There are two basic forms of these systems; high energy (HE) and high tension (HT).  The HE ignition unit generates the tension and energy that is needed to make a reliable spark for pilot gas ignition.  A capacitor is used to discharge the spark across a low tension spark plug in a short time and with a high current.  Pilot flame monitoring is achieved through the use of thermocouples.

Argo recommend HE systems for all new supplied electronic ignition systems over HT systems because of the robustness of the spark generated.  However we can offer compatible pilots for  certain HT system designs.

As with the flame front generator, these systems can be manual or fully automated with the associated electrical ignition and control cabinets designed to meet the specified hazardous area designation.

Ballistic Pellet Ignition
This system, originally developed in Norway for offshore use, comprises a launching cabinet containing the ignition pellets, a guide tube and a pellet collector. The launcher uses compressed air to drive a pellet through the guide tube up to the flare tip/deck.  Once the pellet exits the guide tube, the fuse is released and the pellet explodes producing a shower of sparks over the flare tip and any associated pilot burners thereby lighting the gas.  The empty pellet is retained in the collector.  Flame monitoring can be carried out optically or via thermocouples attached to the pilot burners (if fitted).

Whatever you wish to call them:-

Flare Pilot Igniters / Flare Pilot Ignitors, Flare Igniter / Flare Ignitor

they are all part of the “Flare Ignition System”. Argo Flare Services can provide new manual and automatic flare ignition system as well as spares / upgrades and a support service for many types of flare ignition systems.