Are Subtle Inefficiencies Condensing Your Bottom Line?
To identify key areas in the steam generation cycle, condensate recovery system and waste heat recovery process where cost-effective instrumentation solutions offer a tangible return on investment over the short-term. The goal is to reduce heat rate, environmental impact, fuel and water consumption, water treatment and maintenance costs in commercial and heavy industries where steam generation is essential to the production processes.
Although plausible, it is rare to identify a single source of inefficiency related to poor level controls that impacts a company’s bottom line in the double digit percentile. More so than not, it is these small incremental opportunities for improvement across various aspects of the steam generation cycle, condensate recovery system and waste heat recovery process that ultimately equate to substantial savings.
- Reduced water consumption, treatment, discharge and inventory management
- Improved boiler/steam drum control – energy savings and steam quality
- Reduced fuel consumption – waste heat recovery
- Energy management – fuel gas, combustion air and compressed air flow
- Hardware protection & maintenance – pumps and pump seals
Oftentimes, the hidden maintenance costs and inefficiencies associated with a technology’s vulnerabilities (sustained operation in high pressure and temperature steam environments; chemical exposure; errors due to the complexity of the measurement itself and subsequent calibration requirements) are overshadowed by the day-to-day operation of these processes.
Regardless of the scale of an operation –commercial power generation or small scale boiler system, leveraging the inherent attributes of an instrument’s fundamental technology in both the short-term (engineering, upfront cost, installation and commissioning) and long- term (maintenance, day-to-day practicality and energy management) present simple and cost-effective approaches to maximizing the return on investment in the system itself.
Estimates of up to 49 percent of the energy can be recovered through the use of flash steam routed to heat exchangers or the deaerator to preheat boiler makeup water or support the deaeration process, respectively. Additionally, better level control technology at the boiler side eliminates energy losses resulting from unnecessary blowdown to prevent carryover conditions.
Optimizing boiler, deaerator, heat exchanger/condenser and blowdown usage relative to level control primarily affects fuel economy by better managing the amount of energy required to produce high quality steam for any given task. Seamless response to changes in demand and reducing maintenance associated with the instrumentation or damage to hardware are residual benefits that have their own financial ramifications; hence, should also be considered when implementing any technology. The return on investment time frame can vary depending on the scale of the operation as well as the time spent maintaining aging instrumentation.
In many process industries, as much as 60% of total energy consumption goes to the production of steam. Our newly updated white paper on the steam generation cycle shows how better level instrumentation can improve efficiency, reduce fuel consumption, lower costs, and prevent production downtime.
Download the white paper today.