The recent rise in energy prices have hit industry hard, especially those using natural gas and other fossil fuels for steam generation.
A few practical steps can be taken to help mitigate these high energy prices, and all these steps revolve around improving your process’s energy efficiency.
- Take a good look at your boiler, most modern boilers will achieve 90% efficiency, and up to 95% if using a flue gas economizer. How old is your boiler, when was it last serviced? Have you had an efficiency check done recently?
- Are you recovering flash steam? It is not uncommon for plants to vent flash steam at the hotwell or other vessels to atmosphere, venting can lead to wasted energy. Instead, this energy can be used elsewhere in the plant or boosted via a thermocompressor for use back in the main process. It's worthwhile to imagine that it's not steam that's leaving that vent pipe, it's money.
- Sometimes, due to the production process, flash steam recovery just isn't feasible, in which instance a pressurized condensate recovery system could be the answer. Typically, it is more complex when compared with a flash recovery system, but it works.
Most of the above solutions will typically offer an ROI in under two years. With the additional environmental benefit of a reduction in CO2 emissions.
Now a word of caution, a solution that has worked for one manufacturer may not work for your process. Steam systems are bespoke, and any modifications need to be factored in. Recovering energy is only half the job, you must also have a suitable user for this recovered energy.
Kadant has decades of experience in designing steam systems and implementing retrospective energy efficiency modifications. Contact one of our dedicated steam system experts to discuss your particular requirements.