Babington Burner

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Video of Successful Burner at Factor e Farm


See Babington Burner Project Status.

This burner is important because it is a versatile source of heat for: space heating, metal melting, glassworks, pottery, steam engines for remote power, heat engines for mobile power in cars and tractors, and many others. We can use it with any waste oil - crankcase, vegetable, etc. - plus Pyrolysis_Oil once we develop it. It is not a far stretch to produce pyrolysis oil- see this simple experimental proposition. Do you think this would yield useful amounts of liquid fuel?

Problem Statement

The problem statement is to design a simple, low-cost, high performance, optimal, open source, and replicable (see OSE Specifications) Babington burner. This burner should:

  • Be capable of burning any oil
  • Have auto ignition and flame sensor for auto reignition
  • Circulating oil pump
  • Compact size
  • Scalability to larger and smaller power units

There is one Babington burner that has most of these features on the market - from - turnkey Babington burner (Broken link)

Background Research - Design Rationale

So what is the synthesis of available information regarding the Babington Burner? Wastewatts is one Yahoo group that deals with the Babington. What is the state of the art for:

  • The type of ball used - size, shape (endcap with groove, ball, doorknob). Does wall thickness matter
    • Do people have trouble with debris from inside the ball clogging up the ball hole? We had trouble, so we are cleaning our brass doorknow with an overnight vinegar bath.
    • What is the number of holes that people have used? I've seen 1 and 2 hole versions on the internet.
    • What is the hole size range? I've seen .01-.02 being used.
    • What is the pressure range used?
    • What is the range of flame size possible for a clean burn?
  • Did anyone measure fuel usage rate and heat output in BTU or kW?
  • What is the optimal pump used for active fuel pumping?
  • Is there an upper limit to the desirable air pressure for the burner ball?
  • What is the best type of shroud to use?
    • Pipe section - what length, diameter, wall thickness?
    • Air holes - what is the number and location for these?
    • Ends of pipe - the flame end is open, and burner ball end is closed?
  • Does anyone use forced air for additional air input?
  • Applications - has anyone field-tested:
  • What measures need to be taken to assure the flame does not go out?
  • What is the optimal temperature range for the fuel feed, and how to preheat the fuel?
  • What are other issues/quirks that make the Babington unstable?
  • What is the expected lifetime of a burner ball? Is this an issue?
  • Is regular cleaning required, or can this system be self-cleaning in continuous burning?
  • Does anyone have effective, complete system designs that we can replicate?

Internet Research

After searching for hours on details for the Babington burner, here is the best one:



Here's a video that shows the clear potential of the Babington:

Here is several pictures of a design


Completed head assembly.jpg

Preheat.jpg Preheating oil via copper loop before atomization

Parts Sourcing

Turnkey system

Drill Bits

  • Drill bit size table - [2]
  • Drill bit set - [3]
    • Ordered from Drill Bit City - [[4]]


Burner Balls

Babington Nozzles For Sale Babington burner atomizing nozzles are used to atomize almost all combustible fuel sources. Fuels such as vegetable oil, WVO waste vegetable oil, WMO waste motor oil, waste gearbox oil, waste transmission oil, peanut oil, canola oil and paraffin oil can all be burned very cleanly.

We guarantee to send each individual Nozzle out within 3 working days of receipt of money.

Our Babington Burner Nozzles have the following specifications:

Ball Diameter 50MM Ball Material 1MM Thick Spun Brass Air Connection 15MM Copper Compression Gland Brazing Metal 55% Sure Silver M25T Rods 680 Degrees Celsius Melting Point Atomizing Hole Specification 0.0135" Diameter Hole - Pillar Drilled @ 20,000 RPM Air Pressure Suggested Rating 15 - 80 PSI - Set To Suit Individual Application Finish Acid Dipped, Hand Wired & Polished Notes On Finish Oxidization will occur when exposed to air - This does not affect performance Construction Hand Made In The United Kingdom Babington Ball Usage Clean Atomization of combustible oils & fats - Various Heating Projects Purchase below if you are in the UK Click below for the rest of the world

Burner Ball

Here is a brass endcap with a channel for directing oil flow:


Does this work better than a ball?

Heat Exchanger for Water Heating

We need to coil tubing for a heat exchanger. From Northern Tool:

Coil bender.jpg

Implementation at Factor e Farm

On 9.29.08 we started to put together our Babington burner.

We drilled a 0.0135 inch hole in the face of a hollow, brass doorknob - and brazed on a fitting that supplied compressed air at a constant pressure between 20-35 psi. We were able to atomize water but when we tried motor oil we had problems. We were able to produce a bit of a flame but never sustained burning. Two possibilities: 1) the hole became clogged from debris inside the burner ball, 2) the oil was not heated sufficiently. Has anyone had success in sustaining a flame over a long period? What is a good method for automatic ignition? Best way to regulate the flow over the ball? Any feedback is welcome from experienced Babsmen.

Technique: we attached a rotary tool to a regular drill press - to utilize the up-down motion of the drill press with the rototool as the work tool for the .0135 micro drill bit.


Water atomization was successful, seen in the last picture. Fuel atomization was not.

Next steps: heat oil properly - for now on a stove top, and use a metal dispenser container. Clean out the inside of the burner ball.

A day later: success!


May 2009 [ Reply from Richard Rea ] I have experimented with the Babington system. Ball size = 50mm single hole Hole size = .01 in air = 3 bar Fuel = recycled veg Fuel temp = 60 deg C minimum for start Open tube Circ pump = 12v wiper motor coupled to a sump oil pump Speed control= pulse width modulator Burn rate = estimate 30,000 BTU, very clean exhaust Safety = LDR flame detector, relay drops out and stops oil pump.

Future plans Develop automatic start with electric element pre-heat.

August 2010. Pre heat system working using a Deep Fat fryier. Temp 90 Degrees C Automatic start using a modified kerosine/diesel burner. Burner attached to Firebird 90 boiler. Running four radiators. 78 degrees C achieved before thermostat shuts down the air.

Problems yet to solve: [1] Un burnt oil carry over into boiler. This oil then burns in TURK mode but creates smoke at shut-down. [2] Automat adjustment of oil flow to allow reliable start but then reduce flow to give bestclean burn.


Great Link to Babington Burner Nozzles:

See Also