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Boiler specifications
Boilers are sold with a guaranteed design
efficiency and capacity.
• Understanding name plate information
• Knowing how to convert from one unit to
the other
• Developing of skills to estimate the true
capacity of the boiler
• Reporting boiler operating hours correctly
• Assessing to what extend a boiler is
overloaded or underloaded
• Developing a proper boiler hour reporting
Lecture 16: Boiler specifications Page #
1. Boiler capacities
perating an oversi!ed boiler increases fuel consumption" while
operation of an undersi!ed boiler also increases fuel consumption
and in addition causes increased repair and maintenance as well as
capacity problems. #electing the correct boiler si!e and minimi!ing
investment life cycle costs is the ob$ective.
%t is sometimes difficult to understand boiler capacity terminology
because not all manufacturers stick to norms when advertising
boiler capacities. %n the literature" sales brochures" tender
documents" and on boiler name plates you may find the following
references to boiler capacity&
• '(he boiler has )*+ b.h.p,
• '-apacity is ). tons/hour,
• '0ut!w1rmeleistung ). 23,
• '4eat output ). 2illion B(U/hour,
• 'Rated output e5uals ...,
• '0ominal output e5uals ...,
Understanding the true meaning of these terms helps to ask the right
5uestions if one is not so sure about the real output of the boiler.
2. The concept of “boiler horsepower” (bhp)
(his term is very old 6)++ years7 but still used and found on name
plates of boilers. ne bhp is the evaporation of 89.. pounds 6:
)..;9* kg7 of water per hour from a temperature of <)<
= 6:)++
into dry saturated steam at the same temperature. >5uivalent to
88"9?< B(U/h 6: 8..<@) 2A/h7.
A boiler rated )"+++ bhp has therefore enough heating surface to
adsorb )"+++ B 8..<@) : 8."<@) 2A/h of energy to the steamCwater
circuit. (he steamCwater circuit includes the heat adsorbed by the
blowdown" according to the American and Derman norm.
A boiler rated at 8+ bar and )"+++ bhp will not have a guaranteed
generation of )"+++ B 89.. / <"<+9.?. : )..; tons of steam per hour
because as stated" the term bhp refers to heating water from and at
Lecture 16: Boiler specifications Page $
Boiler horsepower ratings are rapidly phased out and rarely found in
new boiler installations" except for American boilers.
3. The concept of “tons of steamho!r”
(his term is the most informative and easiest to understand if it
refers to steam properties the boiler is designed for. 4owever one
better asks whether the capacity refers to tons of steam/hour from
and at )++
-" or to tons of steam/hour at say 8+ bar and 8.+
- at
nominal output and standard operating procedures.
". The concept of “heat o!tp!t”
(his term is normed and the same in the American and Derman
norm 6'0ut!w1rmeleistung,7. %t means the adsorbed heat in the
steamCwater circuit at specific operating conditions. (he only
difference are the units. -ountries that have adapted the #% unit
express the heat output in 23" others refer to B(U/hour. (he
official conversion is
) B(U : )"+.9.8. Aoule and
) 23 : 8";++ 2A/h
%n practice the rated or nominal heat output is the continuos
maximum heat adsorption capacity of the boiler. (o what extend all
this heat is used to generate steam or some is discharged through
blowdown depends on the operation.
Boiler rated heat output selection is done much more generous than
electric motor or combustion engine output selection" since
marginal costs of boiler capacity are small. %n fact there is more
concern that boilers are oversi!ed to cope with large fluctuating
steam demands.
#. $ress!re ratin%s
n the name plate of boilers you may find its pressure rating in
either bar" kPa" or psi. (he pressure rating refers to the highest
boiler drum pressure 6: steam pressure7 the boiler should be
operated. (he conversion factors are
Lecture 16: Boiler specifications Page %
) psi : ;"*@9.* Ea : ;.*@9* kEa
) bar : )++"+++ Ea : )++ kEa
(he above units bar" kPa" and psi are also found on steam pressure
gages. %n addition the unit kp/cm
6or kg/cm
7 is occasionally found
on gages.
) kp/cm
: +.@*+? bar
) kg/cm
: ) atm
Depending on the type of gage" the steam pressure is either
measured in absolute terms" that means the instrument measures the
true pressure of the steam against the steam drum and pipe walls" or
the differential pressure between steam pressure and ambient
pressure is shown. (o know which pressure is shown by the
instrument is important for steam calculations.
&. 'efinition of parameters of boiler operation
ne of the less pleasant situations in boiler efficiency testing is the
lack of vital information in boiler logbooks. ften a logbook
doesnFt exist at all. >fficiency testing is also a first step to advise on
other e5ually important issues such as boiler maintenance and fine
tuning as well as investment in a new boiler" or the need for
capacity expansion. (hese additional tasks are difficult to
accomplish without a documented history of the boiler performance
and utili!ation.
3e have adapted a few terms common in the operation of power
plants to get a better overview about existing problems with a boiler
that are hidden to an occasional visitor.
(he Dependable Capacity of a boiler is the maximum heat output
under specific conditions for a given time interval 6day" month"
• (he Average Load is defined as
Average load :
Actual heat output
perating hours
Lecture 16: Boiler specifications Page &
(he Average Load shows how much of the Dependable
Capacity is being utili!ed by the boiler. Average Load e5uals
Dependable Capacity" means )++ G utili!ation.
• (he Availability is defined as
Availability : ) C
=4 H 24 H E4
Eeriod hours

(he higher the percent Availability" the more the boiler is
available to supply steam
where =4 : =orced outage hours 6boiler or downstream failures7
24 : 2aintenance outage hours 6scheduled repair7
E4 : Elanned outage hours 6non operation due to events
such as #undays" two shifts" etc.7
• (he Capacity Factor is defined as
-apacity =actor :
Actual heat output
Rated heat output Eeriod hours

(he higher the -apacity =actor" the longer the unit is being
used. Eeriod hours may refer to any time frame from one day" a
week" months" a year or time since commissioning of the boiler.
=or accounting purposes we assume *"?;+ hours/year and 8;.
• (he rated heat output of the boiler is defined as given by the
American or Derman norm. #everal exercises deal with this
Lecture 16: Boiler specifications Page '
(. 'ata collection iss!es
(he rated heat output of the boiler can be obtained from the
manual" or even boiler plate. 4ow to derive tons of steam/hour is
shown in task <.
Recording =4" 24" and E4 is a management matter. (he only
complication is therefore to record the 'Actual heat output, of the
reporting period. %n the case of accumulating steam meters or
accumulating feedwater meters there is no problem. %n the latter
case a reasonable percentage is subtracted from the feedwater flow
to account for blowdown.
%f neither feedwater nor steam metering is available one needs to
assess the output based on the fuel input ad$usted by the boiler
ne is mostly interested to 5uickly detect any serious
inconsistencies of the reported fuel consumption versus boiler
capacity as well as to $udge the boiler management based on
Average Load" Availability and Capacity Factor. Any inaccuracy in
the boiler efficiency entering the calculation of the above terms
doesnFt matter.
ften one can reduce operational costs of boiler operation by
increasing the Availability and Capacity Factor rather than
reducing thermal losses through retrofitting and improved
Lecture 16: Boiler specifications Page (
Tas) 1
-onvert the following pressure units&
• ); bar : IIIIIII psi : IIIIIIII kEa : IIIIII kp/cm
• <++ psi : IIIIIIII bar : IIIIIIII kEa
• @@8 kEa : IIIIIIII psi
• ) atmosphere : IIIIIIIIII bar
#tate the difference between ). bar absolute and ). bar gauge
pressure. IIIIIII bar
Tas) 2
Assume there was an error in the pressure reading of saturated
steam. A value of 9. bar was mistakenly recorded as absolute
pressure although the instrumentation measures the gauge pressure.
Repeat this exercise with saturated steam at . bar.
%& bar & bar
(he incorrect steam enthalpy is 2A/kg 2A/kg
(he correct steam enthalpy should be 2A/kg 2A/kg
(he error e5uals G G
(he incorrect steam temperature is
(he correct steam temperature should be
(he error e5uals G G
Tas) 3
Lecture 16: Boiler specifications Page .
-onsider a boiler of a small power plant. #team properties are 9+
bar and 9.+
-. -onvert the statement '(he boiler has a heat output
of 9+ 23, into
• '(he boiler has IIIIIIIII bhp,
• '(he capacity is IIIIIIII tons/h from and at )++
• '(he capacity is IIIIIIII tons/h of life steam,
• '(he unit has an electrical power output of about IIIIII 23,
=eedwater input conditions are )<. J- and .+ bar. -alculate first
the adsorbed heat.
Tas) "
Elant operators insist that a boiler generates <. tons of steam 6).
bar" saturated7 per hour. (he available boiler documentation
indicates that the boiler has a guaranteed rating of )8 23. Do you
believe what you were toldK Austify your answer.
(he information is  correct  false" because
Tas) #
4ow large is the error if we assume a boiler has a capacity of <.
ton/hour of steam at and from )++
- instead of <. ton/hour life
steam at )+ bar saturated.
(he error is IIIIIIIII G at most
Repeat the exercise for steam at 9+ bar and 9*+
(he error is IIIIIIIII G at most
Lecture 16: Boiler specifications Page /
Tas) &
2aking sense of information provided by boiler owners about fuel
consumption" operating hours and nominal capacity is sometimes
not easy and re5uires detective skills to identify possible
%n the first part of this exercise we explore the concepts of Average
Load" Availability and Capacity Factor. %n the second part
examples of inconsistencies are discussed.
6)7 (he attached sheet of a 'boiler logbook, shows a monthly
record of a )< t/h boiler that generates saturated steam at )+
bar in a soap factory. (he operator has recorded the forced"
maintenance" and planned outage hours. Also recorded is the
daily fuel consumption. (he daily fuel consumption is obtained
from measuring the fuel level in the day tank. (he fuel is
'Bunker -, oil. Assume a feedwater temperature of *+
- and
blowdown of )+ G of feedwater input.
(he rated heat output is IIIIIIIIIIII2A/h or IIIII23
6<7 Analy!e the boiler logbook and point out inconsistencies and
critical areas" where you could perhaps reduce energy
consumption by changing operational procedures.

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