News

The safe operation of boilers - who's responsible?

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Optimizing Energy Usage in Multi-Fuel Boilers

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A First Step in Reducing Power and Utility Costs and Emissions

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Solutions to complex Burner Management System (BMS) applications

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How to avoid energy over consumption in your manufacturing process

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The Lord Ezra Award

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What is going on inside a Steam and Condensate System?

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I-GAS a new qualification for maintenance & gas fitters

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Reducing boiler pressure saves energy – myth or fact?

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A new guide to water treatment for Industrial Boiler plant (BG04)

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Technical Director becomes Chairman of the Combustion Engineering Association (CEA)

After 3 years acting as Vice Chairman for the CEA, Adrian Rhodes becomes the official Chairman. 

ARhodes.pngTaking place at the association's AGM on Thursday 16th March 2017 which is held in the House of Lords, Adrian's predecessor, Derry Carr stepped down from his role as Chairman and fondly reminisced about his last three years in the position. 

Derry remains an active member of the Combustion Engineering Association as the Immediate Past Chairman. The CEA have conferences throughout the year where both Adrian and Derry are keynote speakers, along with other very experienced presenters from all across this sector.

After the initial proceedings, and during the prestigious dinner served in the House of Lords, Adrian unconventionally sparked a discussion amongst the members. His technical knowledge has earnt him the authority of a recognised expert within the industry, but Adrian wanted to raise a matter that's often overlooked yet one he feels strongly about. "Awareness".  

To read the full article click here. 

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The safe operation of boilers - who's responsible?

Recently, our Chairman - Derry Carr - has had an article published in Plant & Works Engineering Magazine:

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If you are reading this, then the likelihood is you're an engineer with responsibility of the boiler plant in your organisation. Now that could be a factory, a hospital, a chemical plant, a prison or in fact anywhere with a boiler.

So, is the boiler plant your responsibility? Yes; you say, it is my responsibility.

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The fact is, the over-riding responsibility for the safe operation of the boilers within your organisation sits with the head of your organisation. It may be the MD or the CEO or some other such title but for this exercise we will call him/her the MD. The chances are, they're not from an engineering background and possibly don't even know where the boilerhouse is, but they cannot get away from it, in law, they are responsible.

So what are their responsibilities?

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Optimizing Energy Usage in Multi-Fuel Boilers

Steam is a critical part of many process manufacturing processes and the energy to produce it can be a significant source of operational costs. Jim Cahill recently caught up with process automation hall-of-fame member Greg McMillan and Emerson’s Scott Pettigrew at the Emerson Exchange conference in Austin.

Read full article here

Greg and Stan Weiner had recently interviewed Scott in a ControlGlobal.com article, Boilers as fast as can be.

controlglobal-boiler-responTo highlight just a sampling of their wisdom shared with the readers; read the entire article. Greg opened noting:

Steam header pressure controllers can be properly tuned for fast response, and use feedforward signals and half decouplers to minimize disruptions in a header and between headers from large changes in steam usage and generation by production units.

He asked Scott about ways to minimise purchased fuel usage on multi-fuel boilers. Scott explained:

We can use boilers running on waste fuel to take all the swings in the plant steam demand within minutes. The starting point is good flow measurements and computations on a mass flow basis.

Coriolis flowmeters are great in terms of providing the most accurate mass flow measurement with the greatest rangeability, as well as density measurement with incredible precision. However, for solid fuels, very large lines or other applications where Coriolis flowmeters are not practical, strategies can provide the missing information as long as the flow measurements are relatively repeatable.

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A First Step in Reducing Power and Utility Costs and Emissions

Industrial power and utility operations are amongst the biggest users of fuel, and greatest generators of emissions. With escalating fuel costs and challenging environmental regulations, it is important that these facilities operate at their best.

Efficiency must be maximised across the entire operation, waste and low-cost fuels need to be leveraged to the highest degree possible, and the electric tie-line must be managed, all while being responsive to changing demands for steam and other utilities. 

Industrial boilers represent the largest single source of energy transformation in an industrial utility. For facilities generating steam and electricity for subsequent use on-site, the effective operation and control of fired equipment plays a major role in tackling energy efficiency. 

Read full article here

A First Step in Reducing Power and Utility Costs and Emissions

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Solutions to complex Burner Management System (BMS) applications

Providing solutions to complex Burner Management System (BMS)applications requires a combination of process knowledge, regulatory awareness, robust components, and an intuitive interface all applied with industry experience to ensure that life, equipment, and revenue are well-protected.

A BMS is truly the last line of defense in preventing the catastrophic failure of a boiler, fired heater or other industrial heating systems involving the combustion of a fossil fuel. Safety is always the number one priority.

Industrial Energy processes involve large equipment and machinery, combustion, some hazardous materi­als, and other potentially dangerous aspects. Proper safety practices and procedures must always be in place and used. The end user must therefore be confi­dent that the BMS supplier has a firm understanding in several key areas.

Read full article here

Solutions to complex Burner Management System (BMS) applications

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How to avoid energy over consumption in your manufacturing process

When Manufacturers look at minimising operating costs it's no surprise that energy efficiency comes to mind. Plant equipment operators are often blind to losses that can and do occur on a real-time basis as they focus on the productivity demands of the business.

So how does a business keep on track of energy consumption and importantly energy over consumption that so many plants experience?

Read the full article here

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The Lord Ezra Award

About Lord Derek Ezra, MBE 

The Lord Derek Ezra had been associated with energy and combustion for over 60 years. For more than 20 years, The Combustion Engineering Association (CEA) were privileged to work with Lord Ezra, first as President of the CEA and latterly as Patron of the Association.

In mid-2015 he expressed his pleasure at hearing of the activity and progress within CEA and wished us all well for the future, sadly he passed away on the 22nd December 2015 at age 96.

 Lord Ezra was an Honorary Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and Liberal Democrat Life Peer having joined the Liberals in 1936. He worked in the UK coal industry for 35 years, the last 11 years as Chairman of the National Coal Board. During that time he was instrumental in the early forming of today's European Union.

Lord Ezra was the Liberal Democrat’s spokesperson for Economic Affairs, Trade & Industry (Energy) (1998-2005) and latterly spokesperson on Energy Matters and had been Honorary President of the Coalfield Communities Group since 2006.

In recent political times, Lord Ezra had concentrated on the environmental impacts of energy/clean coal technology and the problem of fuel poverty. More recently Lord Ezra had formed a private company promoting small-scale electricity generation.

The Lord Ezra Award 

Lord Ezra was very keen that CEA should continue to support the industry through education and training. He wanted to add his own personal support and commitment to that end by offering a prize to encourage new entrants to the industry and new innovation where possible. Thus, in 1995, the Lord Ezra Award was initiated and presented each year.

The Combustion Engineering Association, on behalf of Lord Ezra, is proud to present the award and invites entries from a person or group of persons in combustion engineering who have created or facilitated a benefit to that industry, especially through a new, innovative or novel idea.

The award is open to a large field and entrants who are asked to submit competitively based schemes in order to qualify and actually win. The winning entrant or entrants receive the award in October at the House of Lords, and the award presentation will follow the CEA David Gunn Memorial Lecture 20th October 2016. 

The competition is open to all Members of the CEA at any level within a Member company or organisation submitting an entry/s that meet the terms of reference

To submit an entry for this award please click here   

 

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What is going on inside a Steam and Condensate System?

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Nowadays, knowledge is the most important non-material asset of an enterprise. The quality and speed of which knowledge is transmitted contribute considerably to determining success and failure. With this in mind, Flowserve has created the GESTRA Academy to actively support companies by providing personalized consulting, training programs, comprehensive technical literature and project management.

They have developed movies to allow people to explore and get to grips with the inner workings of processes that you can never see in real life!

Watch GESTRA’s various exciting movies – all shot in Bremen at the world's only full scale glass model – to find out more about what is actually going on inside a steam and condensate system Here

DEAERATION

This video demonstrates the thermal dearation of feedwater for steam boilers. To explain the process of dearation, with the glass model.

STEAM GENERATION

This video shows the thermal processes taking place during the generation of saturated steam in a glass steam boiler. This is demonstrated with the aid of the glass evaporator.

STEAM TRAP UNA 16

Steam Trap UNA16: This video looks at condensate discharge using the ball float trap, type UNA 16, as demonstrated in the glass steam system.

STEAM TRAP MK45

Steam Trap MK45: This video looks at condensate discharge by means of the thermostatic steam trap with membrane regulator, type MK 45, as demonstrated in the glass steam system.

WATERHAMMER

In this film clip, the origin and effect of thermal pressure pulses, generally known as waterhammer, will be demonstrated.

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I-GAS a new qualification for maintenance & gas fitters

 

Plant & Works Magazine have recently published an article about the introduction to the CEA's new I-GAS Course.

The CEA’s Industrial Gas Operations Accreditation Scheme (I-GAS) qualification has been devised to fill this gap, in collaboration with industrial gas training providers, manufacturers of combustion equipment, and employers.  It is the only formal training and accreditation scheme currently available that is specifically designed for maintenance staff and technicians working with gas in industrial premises.

 

To see the article please click here

 

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Reducing boiler pressure saves energy – myth or fact?

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Environmental sustainability has never been so important and this pressure is leading many plant engineers to explore ways they can reduce boiler house energy consumption. A common idea is to reduce boiler pressure to save energy, but does it work? Chris Coleman, Marketing Product Manager at Spirax Sarco, explains how steam system pressure and fuel economy are interlinked. 

The pressure for companies to reduce their environmental impact is growing daily. Consumers, investors, governmental bodies, the media and many other groups are all increasingly focused on the need to lower emissions. This is leading many boiler operators to review their boiler house energy consumption with a view to reducing total carbon emissions and saving energy costs. 

One question we’re often asked is whether it’s a good idea to run a steam boiler at lower than its design pressure to save energy.

The answer is not always a simple yes or no; there may be bigger issues to consider other than relatively minor adjustments to boiler pressure. In particular, it’s vital to ensure that all condensate and flash steam is recovered and its heat re-used efficiently.

Ultimately, what really counts is ensuring that the steam distribution system is as energy efficient as possible.

Higher distribution pressure is more efficient

Generating steam at a higher pressure will require more fuel. However, at its simplest level, the same amount of energy is used whether the boiler raises steam at 4 bar g or 10 bar g. This is because it’s the connected load and not the boiler output that determines the overall energy consumption of a building or industrial plant.

We have to also consider losses around the system. Within the boiler itself these losses depend on the boiler’s combustion efficiency, the heat transfer efficiency of its combustion chamber and fire tubes, and flue losses, which are likely to be higher at higher boiler pressures. However, these rises are marginal when compared to the benefits of distributing steam at a higher pressure.

The most efficient way to run steam plant is to operate the boiler at higher pressures, with pressure reducing equipment to lower the system pressure at the point of use. Using higher pressures increases the boiler’s thermal storage capacity, helping it to cope more efficiently with fluctuating loads and minimising the risk of wet and dirty steam being carried over into the distribution system. It also cuts the cost of materials, insulation and labour, since smaller bore steam mains can be used.

Consider all losses

There will also be losses from the steam distribution system, including heat loss from pipework and fittings to the surrounding atmosphere, as well as steam leaks. Again, all of these losses will be greater at higher distribution pressures.

Potentially though, the most significant losses occur after the steam-using process, whether space heating for a building, or process heating in an industrial plant. Once the steam gives up the amount of heat that the process demands, condensate is released. In most cases, flash steam is also produced.

Now it gets interesting. If the condensate system is effective in recovering all or most of the heat in the condensate, and the flash steam is used by another process or fed to a recovery system, then losses will be minimal. In this case, the boiler operating pressure will not have much impact on the overall losses, and any efficiency gains may be offset by other considerations, such as the risk of wet and dirty steam being carried into the process.

On the other hand, if the hot condensate is not recovered effectively, or the flash steam escapes, then the losses will be large. In this case a lower operating pressure will produce lower losses. However, this would be an inefficient steam system and, rather than adjusting the boiler pressure, much greater savings could be made by improving the plant’s energy performance.

Achieving optimum steam distribution pressure

The optimum pressure within a system varies from plant to plant and depends on the maximum safe working pressure of the boiler as well as the minimum pressure required by steam-using equipment around the site.

Deciding on the optimum initial distribution pressure can be complex, taking in to consideration the application, equipment and safety issues. Allowances must also be made for steam pressure loss as the steam passes through the pipework to ensure the minimum pressure is met at the point of use. So it’s important that the pressure is not altered in a misguided attempt to reduce fuel consumption.

There are other considerations too, such as whether the existing control valves and heat exchangers are adequately sized if the pressure is dropped.

It can take a degree of expertise and experience to successfully balance conflicting factors and arrive at the optimum pressure for a steam system. That’s why many boiler operators would be better off getting advice from a steam system specialist.

Other ways to reduce fuel consumption

There are many effective ways to save fuel. It is estimated that industries could save up to 30% of the fuel feeding its boilers by combining established good practice with improved technologies.

Recover all condensate

Condensate can contain up to 20% of the energy in the steam from which it came. Returning water to the boiler feedtank typically recovers about half this energy, while the rest can be recovered by installing a flash steam vessel or pressurised condensate return system.

The benefits of condensate recovery do not end with energy savings, though. It also saves water and treatment chemical costs, and even effluent charges may be reduced because less water is discharged to drain.

Install automatic boiler blowdown

All boilers need to be periodically purged by blowdown, the key to which is removing only enough water to maintain contamination at an acceptable level. Dumping any more than this is a waste of energy and treated water.

Many boiler houses use blowdown valves that are manually opened at regular intervals and dump water down the drain. An automatic TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) blowdown controller is a better option. By continuously monitoring TDS build-up in the boiler, the controller opens the blowdown valve only as required. It is often cost effective to recover the heat from the necessary boiler blowdown using a simple flash vessel and heat exchanger system.

Creating the right boiler feedtank conditions will also reduce the amount of fuel needed to produce steam from hot feedwater. Using returned condensate, for example, to raise the feedwater temperature by 6°C gives a fuel saving of 1%. Ideally, feedwater should be maintained at 90°C.

Taking the next step

These are just a few of the factors that can determine whether a steam system operator is paying over the odds by running their plant below its optimum efficiency. A full energy audit can identify where energy is being wasted and suggest ways to win significant savings, however we know that some companies don’t have the necessary steam system expertise in-house. Therefore calling in an external provider like Spirax Sarco is often the best option. You can get in touch on ukenquiries@spiraxsarco.com

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A new guide to water treatment for Industrial Boiler plant (BG04)

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For information on our new Steam Boiler Water Treatment Training Course Click Here

The ICOM Energy Association and the Combustion Engineering Association (CEA) have joined forces to produce a new Industrial Water Treatment Guide, an easy-to-follow guide to water treatment for steam and hot water boiler systems. As such, it is designed for use by non-specialists through the use of straightforward, everyday language.

Designated ‘BG04’, the new Guide was launched at the CEA’s conference in July to an audience of primarily plant managers and engineers. It was well-received and acknowledged as providing an invaluable insight into the responsibilities of managing commercial and industrial boiler plant.

Industrial Water Treatment Guide BG04 will now become an integral component of the training courses run by the CEA for operators and managers of industrial and commercial boiler plant.

ICOM Director Ross Anderson noted: “Correct water treatment is essential in ensuring the reliable and efficient operation of steam and hot water boilers but until now there has been no definitive guide for commercial and industrial boilers. BG04 fills this gap in documented best practice and will play a key role in preventing corrosion and scaling.”

CEA Director David Kilpatrick added: “We recognise that many of the people responsible for the day-to-day management of such plant are not chemists or water treatment specialists. BG04 has therefore been written as a simple guide to setting up and treating these systems to ensure long, reliable life.”

The guide has been written for the layperson who does not have 'O' level chemistry but who is responsible on site for boilers and boiler water treatment, either directly or subcontracting it to a third party.

CEA hosted a very successful seminar at the Cambridge Belfry on Thursday 14th July 2016 explaining: 

  • Boiler Water Treatment (BG04) launched. 
  • Industrial Gas Accreditation Scheme (I-GAS) launched. 
  • Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) updates.  

Ideally we would like you to attend the next seminars where a hard copy will be included as part of the delegate pack, dates and locations for these seminars are currently being confirmed for the remainder of 2016 (3 are being arranged). However, if you wish to purchase your copy of BG04 for £75.00 plus £2 p&p please contact the CEA office on 01740 625538 or email info@cea.org.uk.

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About This Guide

This comprehensive guide deals with all aspects of water treatment for steam boilers, steam generators and hot water boilers. This document applies to industrial and commercial steam and hot water boiler plant including steam generators, operating at a working pressure of between 0.5 and 60bar gauge (except where stated)  and a working temperature between 110oc and 400oc. We trust that by studying the contents and following the freely given advice your boiler plant will operate safely and more efficiently, and provide you with a trouble-free system.

Having considered who is responsible for looking after steam boilers, steam generators and hot water boilers and also who is responsible for managing the safe operation of this type of equipment, the Combustion Engineering Association (CEA) and ICOM Energy Association agreed to write this guide, with the help of our respective Members.

It is aimed as a document that can be read and understood by boiler operators, engineers and personnel with limited or no knowledge of water treatment chemistry. It is also intended to help them understand what effect any water and its subsequent treatment will have on their boiler plant.

 

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