Is your industrial boiler bleeding your OPEX budget dry?

Is your industrial boiler bleeding your OPEX budget dry?

Although it may not keep you up at night, the cost of running your industrial boiler and the impact that this is having on your operating expenses budget (OPEX) will probably be giving you pause for thought – especially at a time when the price of energy is going through the roof.

Boilers are critical to the success of most industrial processes. But they can be likened to large, hungry beasts, consuming fearsome amounts of expensive energy; and, if they are incorrectly operated and maintained, they’ll push up operating costs still further.

For processes where live steam is crucial then the cost of operating a boiler will be higher than normal; this situation will be exacerbated if large volumes of blowdown water are required at frequent intervals or if boiler feedwater contains impurities in the form of inorganic salts and dissolved gasses and solids.

As an example, a boiler producing 8 tonnes/hour of live steam, with feedwater being conditioned by a standard water softener, can be wasting in excess of £50,000 each year. That’s effectively coming straight out of your OPEX budget and off your company’s bottom line.

Boiler feedwater treatment
Although many industrial boilers have been fitted with sophisticated water purification systems that produce high quality feedwater to prevent scaling and reduce levels of total dissolved solids (TDS), a surprising number only use a conventional base exchange water softener.

Softeners do an acceptable job of removing the naturally occurring calcium and magnesium salts that contribute to boiler scaling. They do, however, reduce the dissolved solids, such as inorganic salts that contribute to foaming and carryover. Indeed, in some circumstances softeners can increase the levels of TDS.

As all boiler operators know, the higher the level of impurities, and thus of foaming and carryover, the greater the need for boiler blowdown.

Every blowdown costs money, in terms of the energy wasted for heating raw water, the wasted latent heat from the boiler itself, and the volume of contaminated water that is purged to drain. Every time energy input prices increase, so too does the cost of each blowdown.

The solution is simple: improve the purity of the boiler feedwater. By installing additional water purification equipment – for example, a reverse osmosis unit – it is possible to dramatically reduce the concentration of impurities and, as a direct result, minimise foaming, carryover and the number of blowdowns.

Although there will be an investment associated with additional water purification equipment, this can quickly be offset by the savings in energy and water costs. Once payback is reached, all savings will go directly back into your OPEX budget.

If you operate an industrial boiler, producing large volumes of live steam, or work in an area with hard water or high concentrations of TDS, and are facing rapidly rising energy costs, then it’s time to look at ways of reducing blowdowns. Your savings could be considerable.

Take action now to reduce your energy costs

For a free assessment of your boiler feedwater and ways to reduce your costs, call one of our technical specialists today.

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