Neil Simpson

Consultant and Managing Director

Simpson Combustion & Energy Ltd


Neil Simpson Graduated from Napier in Edinburgh with a Bachelors in Energy Engineering and joined Laidlaw Drew in the Development Department.

The first ever “Simpson Burner” was developed to burn a Low Calorific Value gas from a wood sourced biomass so 30 years ahead of its time. It was an interesting time in combustion with the first oxy fuel glass furnaces being developed. Working closely with BOC helped develop a portfolio of conical and flat flame oxy oil and gas burners.

When approached to join a competing burner manufacturer BOC invited Neil to join their Toledo based Glass Team which was developing the CGM crown fired combustion. When Eclipse Combustion acquired the assets of Laidlaw Drew their due diligence revealed the products Neil had developed. Neil joined Eclipse in 2006 as Glass Industry Manager for Europe and worked out of his home office in the Scottish borders.

Neil briefly re-joined BOC to Head UK Glass, Steel, Cement and Combustion related applications. In 2014 Neil resigned from BOC to form Simpson Combustion and Energy Ltd a Consulting company supporting UK and Global Glass manufacturers and suppliers. In 2015 Neil became one of the CelSian registered trainers and organised UK based courses. In 2016 Neil started supporting AMETEK Land in promoting the use of in furnace thermal imaging.

With over 20 published patent applications, Neil is a Chartered Member of the Energy Institute, Member of the Institute of Refractory Engineers, Fellow of the Society of Glass Technology having Chaired MTC which organises Furnace Solutions and former Chair of Board of Fellows.

How much CO2 are glass furnaces producing and why you may want to measure?

In 1990 when Neil Simpson joined Laidlaw Drew Combustion Engineers Ltd he was given responsibility for looking after the Development Department equipment which included gas analysers. For commissioning they used a simple Kaye and Maye %O2 and ppm CO however for burner development and NOx reduction we used a Testo33 which measured %O2, ppmCO,NO, NO2 and SO2. As electrochemical cells these were all dry measurements. In 1990 the cost of the analyser was the same price as a Vauxhall Astra! One summer Neil had an intern and built a transportable Zirconia probe with electric muffle furnace so they could measure %O2 wet. The portable hand held analysers all had a function where you selected the fuel type from a drop down menu. At first this seemed like a strange request since why would an instrument need to know the fuel type to measure %O2? The purpose for this was to calculate the CO2 and not measure it as many assume! The challenge with this is that the analyser assumes that the oxidant is air with 20.9% composition at sea level, the fuel is consistent with exact composition and the elephant in the room is that the process does not generate CO2. Clearly in glass applications there is CO2 from the batch and potentially any organics in the cullet.

Around 2000 when Neil was part of the BOC Glass Team, they saw the need to measure CO2 since this was the only way to determine air ingress in to oxy gas applications. At the time Neil purchased Siemens Ultramat 23 IR gas analysers. These were 19” rack mountable so barely transportable and not portable. One analyser measured %CO, ppm NO by IR with O2 by electrochemical. The other was %CO2 and ppm SO2. The heaviest part was the sample conditioning system. The instrumentation cost way more than the van we purchased to transport the equipment. When using liquid oxygen [LOx] If we measured %CO2, %O2 and %CO on a dry basis then the balance was the %N2 from the air ingress. If we were using oxygen from a VPSA then at 93% O2 purity there is a balance of approximately 50/50 Nitrogen to Argon. We would perform a test with the VPSA and also a second test with pure oxygen.

For decades the stack testing teams have typically included the %CO2 as an IR measurement. The chimney stack is a statutory sample location and is typically after the last point of air dilution. It is a single snapshot at a given pull rate. It is not uncommon to have two or more furnaces feeding the same stack.

On three occasions in 2022 as part of furnace optimisation for energy and CO2 reduction Neil has measured the %CO2 in the target wall and other access points within the abatement and exhaust system for multi-furnace installations. In addition to looking to EU ETS the presentation will show how CO2 measurement should be a part of the decarbonisation strategy.

Neil Simpson will be speaking at the following sessions.

How much CO2 are glass furnaces producing and why you may want to measure?