Boundary Layer Windtunnel at Western University
Despite strong evidence that flares subjected to crosswinds can undergo fuel stripping mechanisms that degrade efficiency and lead to emissions of unburned fuel (especially when operated in a wake-stabilized mode at low momentum flux ratios) , the majority of published flare experiments have not quantitatively considered effects of crosswind on flare performance. In particular, no systematic experiments have ever been conducted to simulate effects of atmospheric boundary layer turbulence (i.e., appropriate length and velocity scales) on a flare.
Of the limited existing quantitative data to specifically consider crosswind effects, experiments were performed at significantly reduced scales and focused on the canonical problem of laminar (low-turbulence) winds. Results of this latter work have nevertheless revealed the complex spatial distribution of the plume and shown in preliminary tests that turbulence in the crosswind can profoundly affect measured efficiencies. This uncertainty is echoed in recent U.S. EPA analysis, where the potential issues of crosswind impacts are even more acute in the context of the steam- and air-assisted flares discussed under Theme 2.