Local company working to reducing the 'ozone'

Thursday, July 25th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Heat is just one ingredient of ozone. Pollution is another, specifically, nitrogen oxide, or "Nox" as it's sometimes called. Oil refineries in particular produce lots of "Nox".

But as News on Six business reporter Steve Berg tells us, a Tulsa company has come up with a solution, out of the "blue". The testing and manufacturing plant for Callidus Technologies is way off the beaten path near Beggs, where the air is always clear.

Here they try to figure out how to make the air clear for the rest of us. "To do that, you've got to lower the ‘Nox’ and hence you get the low ‘Nox’ burner." Doyle Bishop helped developed the Ultra-Blue burner at Callidus. It's blue because it burns at a lower temperature than conventional burners. "A lower flame temperature, lower ‘Nox’ levels." Industries, especially oil refineries, have been under fire from the EPA to lower their ‘Nox’ emissions because it's the prime ingredient in the formation of ozone.

Even the engineers at Callidus were a little surprised at the effectiveness of Ultra-Blue. Compared to the earliest burners, it reduces emissions by 90%, to less than 10 parts per million, which they say has never been done before. "It makes us all proud because we contributing to a better place to live, those aren't words, those are facts."

Bill Bartlett is also proud of his company's Oklahoma roots. He says they've hired the majority of their 200-plus workers from Oklahoma universities. But with offices in Tokyo and London and Los Angeles, they ship their products all over the world. "More than 50% of our product goes offshore."

Where other people see haze, Callidus sees dollar signs. With the tougher government standards, 80% of the refineries in the Houston area will have to be retrofitted with low-‘Nox’ burners, and Callidus has cornered the market. "We've gotten about what we think maybe 40 out of 45 orders that have been let in the last two years have been ours." For the past few years, Tulsa has been the site of a high-ozone problem, but people probably didn't realize it was also home to one of the best solutions.

A major Gulf-Coast oil refiner recently tested the 3 primary low-‘Nox’ burners on the market. Callidus says the "Ultra-Blue" was ranked the best. Callidus says it's had an annual growth rate of 27%.