Top tips for saving energy in steam boilers

The era of cheap fuel is over. Mark Allinson highlights the best ways to optimise the efficiency of steam boilers.

The Carbon Trust stresses that companies need to use a range of monitoring and targeting techniques to identify and implement energy saving measures. The Trust estimates that basic housekeeping enables many low-cost savings, which can add up to 5% or more of an industrial energy bill, while more formal energy management schemes can achieve savings of in excess of 20 to 30%.

A site survey is a recommended first step to manage energy use. It’s a good way to identify wasteful processes and offers advice on solutions tailored for specific  applications. Service and maintenance packages also ensure the process is running at optimum efficiency.

However sophisticated a company’s planned energy management strategy might be, it starts with one essential realisation – you can’t manage what you can’t measure.

Measure it to manage it

  • Make sure you are only generating what you need. Measure the demand and compare it with what the boiler is generating. This will ensure you’re not wasting steam heating up your factory instead of your process, for example.
  • Optimise the combustion process by monitoring the flue gases. Only careful monitoring allows operators to strike a balance between supplying too much air, which carries heat away up the flue, and insufficient air, resulting in incomplete combustion.
  • Make sure that boiler duty is at optimum efficiency. For example, don’t use two boilers at 30% output if you can run one at 60 – 70% output.
  • Check your instrumentation is up to scratch. Modern instruments are typically more robust and more accurate. They are also easier to maintain, and are less prone to problems such as drift.
  • If you measure steam or gas, measure the mass flow, not the volume flow. It takes ten times the energy to create 1 m3 of steam at 10 bar than at 1 bar, yet the volume is the same.

One Response to “Top tips for saving energy in steam boilers”

  1. Diesel Generator Says:

    This is amazing. Absolutely stunning and warm at the same time! I enjoyed the blog and I feel attracted to further investigation.

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