Air Curtain Burners, Air Curtain Incinerators, Air Curtain Destructors, Trench Burners – all of these are different terms for one basic concept. Air Curtain Burners are revolutionary in the world of debris management and especially when it comes to waste burning.

What Is An Air Curtain Destructor?

In short, air curtain burners are a piece of equipment that creates a fast moving curtain of air across a burn pit or trench.

How Does a Trench Burner or Air Curtain Incinerator Work?

The air curtain destructor is a piece of equipment that uses a large fan and ventilation system to create a large and fast-moving curtain of air across the top of a pit or trench or a self contained box. The air circulates and feeds into the fire as it blows into the burn pit. The smoke and sparks are trapped beneath the curtain unless it is temporarily broken by debris being dropped into it. Once the debris has fallen completely under the curtain, the curtain once again becomes a complete sheet of air.

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What is the Benefit of an Air Curtain Burner?

An air curtain destructor has many benefits. For starters, when you use an air curtain incinerator it creates a much hotter and more efficient furnace within the pit or trench that you have dug. This is possible thanks to the fresh oxygen being funneled into the flame through the curtain of air (hence the name). Secondly, air curtain destroyers create a much cleaner and safer burn. Due to the fast-moving curtain of air, smoke and sparks are trapped beneath in the pit. The only time that they can break through is when additional debris is dropped into the fire through the curtain of air. This is one of the reasons why burning vegetative debris with the help of an air curtain incinerator is shown to have a significantly lower emissions of particulate matter and CO per unit of debris being burned in an open pile (reference). For all of these reasons, it is normally easier to obtain a burn permit when you are using an air curtain destructor. For information on obtaining a burn permit, check our State and county contact pages, where you will find the relevant names, phone numbers, and general contact information for different states and their counties.

Burning is a desirable option to other forms of debris removal for a few main reasons. First, burning debris means you have a much smaller by-product. The ash pile that you will be left with once the burning is complete is radically smaller than if it were ground or chipped. Second, the clean-up process is very simple, since often all that is required is covering the pit back over with the dirt you took from it. Often you can leave the ash right where it is. You can also repurpose the ash if you so desire. Regardless, this is simpler than carting off the debris, locating a dump site, and then having to pay fees to dump it there.

How Can I Set Up an Air Curtain Destructor?

The first step is to build your burn pit. While regulations are different depending on your locality, most require your pit to be approximately 300 feet from other structures.

The length of your pit should be about 2 feet shorter than the length of your manifold. You want to have about 1 foot of extra space on either side of your manifold. It should be approximately ten feet wide and ten feet or more in depth. Of course, the dimensions vary depending on the size of your machine and the regulations of your locality, but these are average measurements. The most critical points are that your pit is deep enough to fit the debris under the curtain of air while it is burning and that your manifold is not shorter than your pit, since that would prevent that curtain of air from covering the burn pit completely and would allow the smoke and sparks to escape through the side(s).

You should know approximately how long your project will last. If you have a short-term burn (a week or less) then it is not typically necessary to reinforce the sides of your burn pit.  The type of soil you have will make a big difference in how long the walls will last.   However, if you will be burning long term then reinforcement is often needed to prevent the walls of your pit from caving in.  Do not use common cement blocks to reinforce your pit it has been known to explode and send chunks of concrete 30 feet.  Be sure that anything you use is rated for high heat. There are blocks rated for high heat.  Obviously, you would not want to reinforce your pit or trench with wood since it will likely combust along with the debris.

You can now set up the air curtain burner. Set the manifold up along the length of the pit. Remember to leave approximately a foot of space on each side, meaning that the manifold of the machine should reach about a foot farther than the pit on both sides.

You’re now ready to burn! Add some debris and get a small fire burning, then turn on the air curtain incinerator. You want the debris to be burning well for a few minutes (typically 10-30 minutes depending on your debris) before turning it on. Once the air curtain is running and debris is burning, you can feed your fire with more debris. Be careful not to smother the flame with too much debris so that the fire goes out. Feed it moderately and gradually to ensure a steady and efficient fire.

How Can I Get A Burn Permit to Use A Trench Burner?

You may need to obtain a burn permit in order to use an air curtain burner in your area. Please click the button to reach our info on burn permits.