Combustion Efficiency Calculator Using Gas Flare Images

Computing & Wireless : Application Software

Available for licensing


  • Thomas Edgar , Chemical Engineering
  • David Castineira , University of Texas at Austin
  • Blake Rawlings , University of Texas at Austin

Background/unmet need

Currently in the refining industry, no on-line sensor is available to determine if a flare is achieving combustion efficiency greater than its design value of 98%. As a result, hydrocarbon air pollutants are released into the atmosphere. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a software-based sensor that allows calculations of combustion efficiency using camera images.

Invention Description

The Combustion Efficiency Calculator Using Gas Flare Images software takes a color flare image from a camera and processes the pixel information to yield a prediction of the flare combustion efficiency. This technology effectively reduces pollution and is amenable to closed-loop control of a gas flare by adjusting the steam or air injection rate. The prototype has been demonstrated successfully on pilot-scale flare tests.


  • Decreases pollution
  • Maximizes combustion efficiency


  • Uses decomposition of the RGB image data using principal component analysis and partial least squares to predict efficiency
  • Written in Octave

Market potential/applications

Oil refineries and chemical companies

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype