Emerson patented combustion solution


BOAS Assessors - The Key to our Success


Biomass Boiler Explosion in Birmingham


Bringing a Steam Boiler On-Line from Cold


Medium Combustion Plant Directive News


Testimonial - Ford Motor Company


Use of Filming Amines and Reverse Osmosis in boiler water treatment


Reducing Boiler Operating Pressure


Copper Pitting in Boilers


NEW: Steam Boiler Water Treatment Training Course


Brexit and The Machinery Directive - 'Game of Change'

Warren Spiers, Managing Director at Spiers Engineering Safety, looks at the possible changes that may come, following our exit from the EU.


The machine safety industry should be watching the Brexit process with baited breath. Nobody truly knows what the outcome will be. In fact, all we know is that our relationship with the EU will never be the same again and in this 'game of change' nobody knows the outcomes for sure. The purpose of this article is to explore the changes that could occur to the Machinery Directive and the machinery safety industry. 

As a professional in machine safety and as a machine safety consultancy business owner responsible for the livelihood not just of my own family, but also of the families of our employees, I am keenly focussed on what contingencies I might want to put in place to protect us all from the effects of the Brexit process.

To read the full article click here.

Warren Spiers will be delivering a one-day machine safety workshop at Cannock on Tuesday 21st March 2017. 

To view all of Spiers  Engineering Safety conferences and workshops for 2017 please click here.


Emerson patented combustion solution

Take a look at this video which was the subject of the CEA's David Gunn Memorial Lecture, 19th October 2017, delivered in the House of Lords by Chip Rennie - Director, Global Industrial Energy Solutions. Whilst explaining "The "Art" of Combustion - Then and Now" Chip talked about the previous technologies of controlling fuel and air ratios and then discussed the modern way of controlling this air fuel mix and a new algorithm for controlling it, all of which is in the attached video just released by Emerson Process Management.
The CEA's Honorary President Dr Pete Waterman said "the presentation was extremely informative and has answered some very important questions for [him] and [his] guest Matt Conway, on recent developments in combustion technology". It was also very informative for many of the guests attending. For those that may not know, Pete Waterman has and still is very heavily involved in many aspects of Engineering from Heritage Railways rebuilding and renovation of steam locos through to the design, build and infrastructure for HS2 and all aspects of Engineering in-between, and it goes without saying, his passion for music.


BOAS Assessors - The Key to our Success


Could you be part of the team?

The Boiler Operation Accreditation Scheme has been running for over 12 years now and is in a significantly enhanced and ‘steady state’ of operation after seeing over 3330 successful candidates pass through the scheme up to September 2017.

But what makes a successful training and assessment scheme?  One answer in the case of BOAS is the Assessors.

There is no such thing as a typical BOAS Assessor.  Sure, they all have a wealth of experience in the operation of steam and hot water boilers, and they have all been associated with the boiler industry in some way for most of their working lives, but they are all different characters and all highly professional individuals.  Some have an engineering consultancy background, some come from the H&S world, and some have spent many years operating plant at sea and on shore, but they all know their boilers.

Many of the dozen or so Assessors are retired, a few still have a full time role, and some are also BOAS Trainers; there is nothing wrong with being a BOAS Trainer and an Assessor as long as you do not assess the candidates you have trained.  Working in the BOAS scheme is a form of CPD for all those involved – we all learn something new every day from the candidates and the other professionals in the CEA involved in the scheme.

BOAS Assessors love to talk about steam and love to share experiences with their colleagues.  They take on the challenge of keeping up-to-date with their industry whilst encouraging the candidates they assess to know more about the plants they operate and increase their own knowledge.  A BOAS Assessment is a structured and quite rigorous process, but Assessors come away from their candidate interviews with the satisfaction of seeing good boilermen becoming safer and better boiler operators, and their managers and supervisors knowing more about their roles and the laws and best practices that underpin the industry.

Boiler explosions and related dangerous occurrences are rare in this country, and this is no accident.  Trained boiler operators and managers are now required to have BOAS by some employers, and insurance inspectors are looking for trained operatives when they inspect plant – it is a legal requirement to be trained for work activities, after all. 

The CEA awarded Kiwa the task of managing the BOAS assessment process and organising the Assessors.  They are always on the lookout for new Assessors to join the team.  A steady increase in the numbers being trained, plus the addition of a new category of operator and the continual five yearly renewals mean that the BOAS scheme is going from strength to strength.  Do you think you could join in with our success?

Please apply to Andrew Mathews at or Dave Kilpatrick at  We look forward to welcoming you to the team.




Biomass Boiler Explosion in Birmingham

A factory worker has died and two others left in a stable condition following an explosion at a recycling plant in Oldbury, Birmingham. 

The man, in his 50s, suffered very serious burns in the explosion, in the early hours of Monday 7th August. Sadly he later died from his injuries.

Two other workers in their 30s and 40s also sustained burns in the incident. They remain in a stable condition in hospital.

The police were called by the fire service at 1:50am Monday morning. 

Health and Safety Executive chiefs said they are aware of the incident and will investigate.

Read the full article here. 


Bringing a Steam Boiler On-Line from Cold

To help understand what needs to be done and why things need to be done in a certain way, the following procedure presumes that the boiler is completely cold and dry, such as after a prolonged shutdown or annual inspection.

Steps can be omitted for boilers with some residual heat still in them and a typical example of this could be the start up after a weekend shutdown where the boiler has dropped in pressure and cooled, yet still has heat in it.

Note: The need to heat the boiler slowly will be explained throughout this procedure and it can take many hours for a large cold boiler to be heated correctly to operating temperature and pressure. Timing will also depend on how much treated water is available to fill the boiler, so be prepared for a long day and you may have to include a shift handover procedure to safely complete the task.

To read to full article please click here. 

Steam Boiler.jpg


Medium Combustion Plant Directive News

Now that the recent election is over Defra are able to re-engage with Stakeholders on current projects, the most pressing being MCPD.

A number of matters have arisen over the last few weeks:


The Government’s consultation on the implementation of the MCPD ran between 16 November 2016 and 8 February 2017, and the results were published at the end of June.

Of the 112 responses received, the largest number of responses were from the Energy sector, followed by Industry, Local Authorities and Regulators.

Implementation Summary

MCP Timetable


One clearly overriding factor in these discussions is the scope and importance of Air Quality Management Areas.  The Directive (Art 6:9) allows the Regulator to impose stricter controls on emissions for AQMA and it is likely with current public pressure and interest that this will be done.

EA Guidance

NOTE – this is a short form of the document discussed at the stakeholder working group and further detail (especially for diesel generator rules) is available on request to the CEA.

See the full News article Here


Testimonial - Ford Motor Company

I am very pleased to provide this testimonial on behalf of Ford Motor Company.

My role is Engineering Manager responsible for the Boiler House & estate maintenance for the Ford plant at Dagenham, Essex.

I contacted the CEA for advice on training after the completion of our new boiler house in 2015 on the recommendation of the boiler manufacturer.

I was contacted by David Kilpatrick who recommended the BOAS accreditation for Managers, Supervisors, & Operators, which we completed.

I found the course very informative giving us an excellent understanding of BG01, with the benefit of having it delivered on our own premises.

My team have all given positive feedback on what they received.

I have since attended the Technical Boiler House Risk Assessment conference which has been very useful in giving me the tools to enable implementing my own technical Risk Assessments.

The CEA are always on hand for advice and networking in other areas, on the recommendation of David Kilpatrick I have since started my team on an industrial gas qualification I-GAS, which is going well so far.

As a customer I have found the whole experience excellent and would most definitely recommend the CEA. Well done.


Dean Sheldrake,

Utility & Estate Services
Ford Motor Company Limited


Use of Filming Amines and Reverse Osmosis in boiler water treatment



 The Camberley plant is a large commercial laundry part of the CLEAN group of laundries. This plant processes up to one million pieces of linen per week on a two shift/7 day per week operation.

For Clean Camberly, the use of and RO plant and injection of amine is very successful.  The boilers have stayed in good condition with minimal scaling in the boiler. TDS stays low and constant so blowdowns are minimised with a good saving in energy.  They have little or no problems with the other parts of the steam system either.

L. Armitstead

Engineering Manager, Clean Camberley

June 2017

Please Note - This article is a personal view by the author based on their results of their steam boiler and system.

Also note - David Kilpatrick director of the CEA would like to point readers to the CEA guidance document BG04 which talks in detail about all aspects of Steam and Boiler Water Treatment. Pages 22 and 23 offer words of caution on when and where Amine can be used, as it may suit this closed loop process but please check with a steam boiler water treatment expert that it is suitable for your process. Because steam boiler water treatment is a complex subject CEA do not endorse any technical aspect of this article and it is highly recommended that the reader carries out a thorough risk assessment in accordance with BG04 to ensure the correct boiler water treatment is applied to your individual application. 

Click Here to view Full Article


Reducing Boiler Operating Pressure

What Are the Implications of De-rating Boiler Pressure Below that of Boiler Design Pressure

Is it appropriate on your plant to reduce the boiler operating pressure with a view to saving money on fuel costs, when you consider both the effects on the plant and equipment and the associated risks of making the necessary changes?

In these days of pushing the boundaries on energy efficiency it’s very easy to connect a lower working temperature in a boiler to a lower flue gas temperature and therefore higher efficiency; but is that really the case?  While it’s true that a 15°C reduction in flue gas temperature will save most steam users 1% of the boiler running cost, it isn’t quite that simple when it comes to looking at the effect on the system as whole.

Click here to read the article.

Adrian Rhodes - CEA Vice Chairman

boilers & Gauge.jpg


Copper Pitting in Boilers

It’s quite common in boilers with base-exchange water softeners, the effects are worsened by having hard water and/or high make-up rates.

copper deposit.png

If you have a base-exchange softener the scale forming calcium is taken out but the carbonate remains, this doesn’t harm the boiler but instead breaks down to form CO2.  This CO2 leaves the boiler with the steam, and then dissolves in the condensate to form carbonic acid which erodes the condensate pipework forming a metal salt (Iron carbonate, copper carbonate, etc.).  The carbonate returns to the boiler via the feed system where it once again breaks down to form CO2 and the cycle begins again.

Copper and zinc are a particular problem as the metal ion left over from the dissociation plates-out on the steel boiler surfaces; as the steel and the copper are dissimilar, a galvanic cell is formed and, as steel acts as the anode, the steel is eroded rapidly local to the copper deposit.

There are a number of possible solutions depending on how deep your pockets are:

  • Remove the copper pipework (remember – it is corroding right now so you will have to do this at some point anyway) and;
  • Replace with steel (this won’t stop the corrosion of the condensate lines but it will stop the galvanic corrosion in the boiler) or;
  • Replace with stainless steel (this will stop both the damage to the boiler AND the condensate lines).

Soluble copper usually results from carbon dioxide, oxygen or ammonia in the condensate system.

copper hole.pngIn order to deal with these problems, the common solution is to eliminate or neutralise the sources of these gases.

With all steam systems, it is recommended that you carry out a boiler water treatment risk assessment in accordance with BG04, considering the suitability of introducing chemical product(s), in order to boost pH and reduce free CO2 (and therefore reduce the damage to the condensate line). This boiler water treatment risk assessment should consider the destination of the steam and what it might contact.

It should also consider the suitability of the pre-treatment plant currently in operation.

From the conclusions of the boiler water treatment risk assessment, carried out in accordance with BG04, you can then consider your pre-treatment options.

Usually, there are at least two options;

Install a reverse osmosis unit after your existing base-exchange softener, which will not only remove carbonates but almost everything else too, producing ultra-pure water.

Alternatively, install a dealkalisation plant, which will remove the carbonates only. Both systems will have the potential added benefit of removing make-up water dissolved solids, thereby consequentially reducing blowdown and energy costs.


You will need to talk to a water treatment company, proficient in boiler water treatment, about these options and they should be able to then put an economic case together for you, to put to management.

It is very important when dealing with copper pitting in boilers that the whole steam system is sampled and considered, since there are other routes to copper corrosion, which are very specialist and as such are not considered here.

We would suggest contacting a specialist in steam boiler water chemistry, for further advice with respect to this.


The boiler maker however, will no doubt refer to BG04 Boiler water treatment guidance for shell boilers, coil boilers, steam generators and hot water boilers or BS 2486 Recommendations for treatment of water for steam boilers and water heaters in their technical documentation. Both will recommend keeping the alkalinity below 25mg/kg in the feed water to keep the amount of CO2 released in the boiler to a minimum.


NEW: Steam Boiler Water Treatment Training Course

Do you really know if your boilerhouse and steam systems are safe? 

You may have BOAS accreditation which touches on Steam Boiler Water Treatment (SBWT) within the BOAS assessment. But this SBWT course is a Full Bolt On addition to your accreditation covering all the things you need to know...

CEA are trying to help you and your industry understand the hidden potential risks when operating steam boilers - GSK have suffered as a result of the boiler explosion on one of their sites that killed a 24-year-old technician, All the facts have not emerged yet, but please take a look at this link and decide if  this could be you.
 Do you really know - What would be the impact on your business?
  • It is common knowledge in the industry that there are more boiler explosions in the UK than are reported to the HSE under RIDDOR. Luckily so far no recent fatalities in the UK.
  • The PSSR (Pressure Systems Safety Regulations) ACOP also highlights this issue of boiler water treatment and training for staff - The law
  • 95% of all boiler related accidents and incidents are as a result of poor management of boiler water treatment.
  • This is often because people are unaware of what needs to be done, why it needs to be done and what the results are telling you.  
  • The job of managing boiler water treatment is often left to contractors to do on a once a month basis, which is not adequate.
  • The water chemistry inside your boiler can change very quickly if something goes wrong therefore a minimum of daily testing is a must. A recent explosion at a site in Immingham highlighted this point.
  • People often glaze over when trying to understand the chemistry involved.
  • Designed for people who ARE NOT CHEMISTS and don't have any qualifications in boiler water treatment.
  • But are you responsible for operating or managing your sites boilers. See article - Who's responsible?

The CEA have launched a new two-day training course aimed at water testing and training:
 Certified by CEA to sit alongside BOAS as a Full Bolt On Addition. 
 Independent training by our team of CEA Experts.

Next Training Course to be advised

For more information on the Boiler Water Treatment Course please contact the CEA office, 01740 625538 

Click here for an introduction to BG04 Water Treatment Guide


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