Tornado Technologies Inc

Pilot & Ignition Systems

No lazy yellow pilot flames. Tornado pilots burn with a short intense blue flame and up to 75% less fuel.

What's the difference between a Pilot and an Ignitor?


Simply put – a pilot is continuous, it’s always on. The pilot flame serves to light the waste gas stream exiting the flare, or inside an incinerator, or any other combustion unit. You need to have an available fuel gas supply in order to install a continuous pilot.

An ignitor (or ignition system) is an intermittent spark or flame front that is responsible for keeping the pilot lit. On systems where there is no on site fuel supply available, and therefore no pilot, the ignitor may be used to light the waste gas stream directly.

Which Ignition System should I use for my Flare?


Tornado recommends one of four sources of ignition in conjunction with its flare systems:

1. Standing Pilot

Tornado pilots are made from Silica Carbide. They are wind-proof up to 200 mph, fuel-efficient, and resistant to the most corrosive conditions. Tornado pilots offer the following benefits over competitive units:

  • Low fuel consumption 25 SCFH
  • Short intense blue flame
  • Tested to wind speeds of 200mph
  • Suitable for H2S

In Alberta, as per AER Directive 060, if a waste gas stream being flared has more than 1% H2S then a standing pilot or electronic sparking ignition system is required (excluding gas plants)

2. Standing Pilot with Monitor and Auto-Relight System

The thermocouple is housed in a slot in the nozzle, where it is protected as it measures the temperature of the silica carbide.

The ultimate in fail-safe reliability, the Tornado Pilot Monitor and Auto Relight (TPMR) is used to relight the pilot in the rare case where flame failure may occur.

The TPMR system operates a continuous standing pilot made of silica carbide. An enclosed thermocouple sits within the nozzle monitoring its temperature to detect flame failure. Should the pilot flame go out, the TPMR will activate an auto-relight process by opening a solenoid valve and igniting a stoichiometric fuel-air mixture. This sends a flame front to relight the pilot and the flare remains fully functional. If the system encounters a problem it cannot correct itself, the Tornado unit initiates an auto-shutdown to close the fuel gas supply to the pilot and activates an alarm.

In Alberta as per AER Directive 060, a standing pilot with automatic ignition is required for gas plants flaring waste gas streams with greater than 0.001% H2S

3. Electronic Ignition System

The Tornado Electronic Ignition System (TEIS) is used in low flow, high heat value and high flammability gas streams. It is designed to arc every 30 to 45 seconds to directly light the waste gas stream where no fuel gas supply (therefore no continuous pilot) is available.

In Alberta, as per AER Directive 060, if a waste gas stream being flared has more than 1% H2S then a standing pilot or electronic sparking ignition system is required (excluding gas plants)

4. Manual Ignition Tube System

A Tornado torpedo tube is a manual ignition system used to ignite both standing pilots (as used on a TPMR system) or for igniting a flare via a shot tube running the length of the flare. The most rudimentary of all systems, the torpedo tube carries a shot from a flare gun to the top of a flare stack to ignite the waste gas stream. These systems are not recommended for stacks over 100-feet tall.

All Tornado pilots can be retracted to ground level for easy inspection and maintenance.

Retractable Ignition Systems

Tornado standing pilots and TEIS ignition systems can be mounted on the side of a flare stack retractably. This enables any maintenance operation to these pilot systems to be done easily from the ground, without the need for cranes or ladders to remove them from the flare’s tip.


Is your flare unreliable? Tornado has helped many customers replace (or retrofit) a poorly performing ignition package off any flare stack with one of our superior units. Entire tracking packages can be easily mounted onto an existing flare to improve performance with a more reliable pilot and ignition system supplied by Tornado Technologies Inc.

Ask our Combustion Design Team to quote a retrofit package and bring your flare stack back to life.