Condensate return to the boiler feed tank is recognized as the most effective way to improve steam plant efficiency. Formed by condensed steam, liquid condensate must be drained from piping and equipment to avoid the risk of water hammer.
Water hammer is a hazard in poorly drained steam distribution lines, when condensate accumulates and forms a solid pocket of water. This water cannot be compressed, unlike steam, and thus can cause damage when entrained by steam at high velocity.
The condensate also contains about a quarter of the energy of the steam from which it came. Allowing condensate to go down the drain wastes valuable energy and water, so most steam plants recognize that condensate is a valuable resource. Fewer and fewer industries do not have some type of condensate recovery system, but the fact remains that there are still many plants where much more could be done.
There are applications where condensate is not returned to the boiler house for operational reasons – either because the steam is injected into the final product, for example in animal feed mills or direct steam injection in food processing, or because there is a risk that the condensate is contaminated and could damage the boiler.
Typical examples could be chemical treatments, dyeing or food processing, where food particles could enter the condensate recovery system. However, even in these systems, condensate could be recovered by installing contamination detection systems or heat exchange systems to prevent contamination of the boiler.
Benefits of condensate recovery systems in boilers and steam plants
Reduced fuel costs
Typically, condensate contains about 25% of the usable energy of the steam from which it comes. Returning it to the boiler feed tank can save thousands of dollars per year in energy alone.
One of the great advantages of condensate recovery systems for boilers is that the condensate is distilled water with some total dissolved solids (TDS). If more condensate is returned to the feed tank, it reduces the need for boiler blowdown, which is done to reduce the concentration of dissolved solids in the boiler.
Reduced water costs
Condensate that is not returned and not reused must be replaced with water from the mains. This recharge will result in additional water costs. If a condensate recovery system is in place, the benefit will be a significant reduction in the water bill.
Reduction of chemical treatment costs
Reusing as much condensate as possible, reduces the need to add expensive water treatment chemicals.
Elimination of steam plumes
Steam systems that allow condensate to be revaporized into steam can create steam plumes that, in addition to being a waste of energy and water, are visible. Potentially, this presents a bad image to the outside world of an environmentally unfriendly organization.
The Water Harvesting Solutions (Wahaso) team brings experience, expertise and a passion for water conservation to every customer project. We incorporate a holistic approach to system design and construction, working to integrate multiple renewable water sources along with multiple uses of treated water to maximize overall water savings.
You can contact us through our phone number 800-580-5350 or review all of our equipment and merchandise in stock through our website https://wahaso.com/ and if you are interested in doing a project with us, you can get a free quote through https://wahaso.com/free-estimate/.