High Efficiency Porous Burner Design


University of Nevada, Reno researcher, Chanwoo Park, of the Mechanical Engineering Department focuses on two-phase heat transfer, energy storage/conversion, electronics cooling, vehicle thermal management, combustion, and nanotechnology.

Technology Summary

Porous burners have been extensively studied because of their low pollutant emissions and fuel flexibility. Current radiant porous burners are less than 25% efficient, with much of the heat leaving through convection heat transfer in the form of flue gas and not being utilized. The UNR burner uses gaseous fuel (natural gas, methane, propane), which mixes with air and enters a porous medium generally made up of a ceramic foam or metallic structures. Opting for the use of metallic structures would allow for a more flexible and less expensive burner design. Some of the fuel-air mixture recirculates through a preheater, and this secondary flow is added to the primary flow, increasing the resulting temperature. The combustion reaction causes a sharp rise in the gas temperature, and thus the positive convection heat transfer (heat gain from the gas phase). Heat conducting solids such as radiation rods extend and make up the radiant surface of the burner. The radiant surface will deliver radiation heat to a target surface at higher efficiency than typical conventional designs, and will greatly reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emission. While conventional burners without a preheater use inlet air at ambient temperatures, the UNR super-adiabatic (keeps the heat within the system) radiant burner uses internal heat recirculation in order to get inlet air at higher temperatures. With a radiant output efficiency of up to 45%, this is a significant improvement in thermal efficiency compared to conventional porous burners.

Potential Applications

Drying applications:

  • Pharmaceutical

  • Pulp and paper

  • Farming

  • Automotive

  • Food Processing

  • Paint and Printing

  • Textiles

  • Building materials


Other Applications:

  • Burners for furnaces, kilns, crucibles

  • Caramelization of sugar icing on pastries

  • Thermal moulding of plastics

  • Curing of powder coatings

  • Incinerators and oxidizers

  • Defrosting railcars

  • Solution heaters


UNR is seeking expressions of interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize this technology.


Superadiabatic radiant porous burner with preheater and radiation corridors

IP Status

UNR ID#: UNR12-020
Super-Adiabatic Radiant Burner
U.S. Provisional Patent No.: 61/658820

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Shannon Sheehan
Manager, Technology Commercialization
University of Nevada, Reno
Chanwoo Park
Massoud Kaviany