If you’re involved in the planning, management or upgrading of steam boilers, then you may have come across the term ‘steam fundamentals’. But, what does this mean and why is it important for you as a plant manager?
Well, this is where I can come in to provide you with a few points of guidance. With so many variables to consider in any plant, having a solid grounding in ‘steam fundamentals’ will serve you well. Whether your role is ensuring that your plant is operating safely and efficiently, or planning and implementing steam and thermal energy efficiency improvements, by developing a basic understanding it will ultimately help you to achieve better safety and efficiency.
To help you re-acquaint yourself with the basics of steam and identify areas of improvement, I’ve broken down steam fundamentals into 7 key topics:
You certainly don’t need me to tell you that the type of boiler used in a steam plant will vary depending on the application. The main task of any boiler however is to provide the correct amount of steam in a safe and efficient way.
If, like me, you work with steam it’s important that you can find your way around the wet side of the boiler – this means understanding how the steam is produced. As a plant manager this knowledge will help you prepare for any maintenance eventuality.
Steam comes in a variety of types and so, it’s paramount that you know what steam is. Knowing what steam is, is a stepping stone in building the requisite knowledge to look for steam efficiency upgrades.
You’re likely already aware of the importance of steam tables for understanding the varying properties of steam at different pressures. Though I’d always recommend refreshing that knowledge to stay one step-ahead of your plant performance.
Condensate must be removed from the steam system in order to keep the steam system performing at its best. If it is not removed it can cause severe damage to the system. Re-acquainting yourself with the basics of the steam and the condensate loop can help you to identify areas of improvement within your plant – boosting safety and efficiency in the process.
Condensate can be repurposed once it reaches the feedtank, but I won’t go into too much detail here. To really delve into the world of steam and condensate systems you can join me on an ‘Introduction to Steam and Condensate Systems Course’.
There are 5 key tests that I suggest you should consider carrying out on your boiler such as:
• Check the feedwater treatment, deaeration and storage
• Check the level control systems on the boiler
• Check the blowdown controls and vessels
• Check what energy management systems you have in place
• Check compliance with BG01 and the HSE INDG436
Get in touch and request a copy of our guide ‘The Fundamentals of Steam’.
Chris Coleman, Condensate Handling Specialist
Whether or not you’ve already read my blog which defines what condensate recovery actually is, you’ll no doubt be aware of the growing need to make your process more productive. After all, energy costs are rising and ambitious carbon emissions targets are coming into play – as if we didn’t have enough on our plates already!
Companies relying on processes driven by steam are being urged to manage their condensate more effectively after the launch of a new white paper which details the potential cost and productivity benefits on offer.
With plant operators under increasing pressure to reduce operating costs and improve productivity, the launch of a new guide is promising to help boost efficiency right from the heart of the boilerhouse.