Colin French CEng, FInstE, FBIMgt
31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 31.5 31.6 Introduction Oil and coal applications Gas-fired economizers Design Installation Condensing economizers 31/3 31/3 31/3 31/4 31/4 31/4
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of course. For this reason. dependent on the excess air and fuel sulphur content). Developments using an additive to suppress the dewpoint are worth consideration. normally at temperatures between 30° and 10O0C. A saving of (typically) 5% can be made with gas-fired economizers. This is principally sulphuric acid due to the sulphur contained in the oil or coal. high efficiencies have made it increasingly difficult to justify the use of an economizer. there is an additional burden with the cost of the additive. Magnesium oxide is the most commonly used suppressant and this is injected into the gas stream to combine with the sulphuric acid to form magnesium sulphate (which also has to be removed regularly in addition to the soot). The average saving would be somewhat lower than this since fouling of the economizer surface is inevitable from the carbonaceous emissions of the firing of coal or oil. The cold temperature of the heat transfer surface gives rise to heavy corrosion which would reach a peak at about 950C. say a temperature difference of 30-5O0C between the exhaust gases and the water temperature.1 Temperatures in three-pass boilers and economizers
.1. Allowing for. 170-18O0C. The potential to recover heat from the gases of an oil or coal-fired boiler is therefore limited to a temperature drop from 24O0C to 17O0C. This is shown in Figure 31. Normally. therefore. Watertube boilers. the final decision being based in terms of payback period.2 Oil and coal applications
Although it would be possible to design for an economizer gas exit temperature of 30-5O0C above the feedwater temperature. Gross heat-saving potential may be determined in relation to feedwater temperature and excess air level are shown in Figure 31. By using an economizer this is done by conducting the feedwater supply to the economizer wherein the exhaust gas passes over tubes carrying the feedwater. the materials of construction can be cheaper and the thicknesses reduced. this only occurs for short periods during starting from cold.
31. and as this is related to the boiler output it represents a saving of 6.25% in fuel consumed.1 Introduction
Economizers for boilers have been available for nearly 150 years. the economizer is integrated into the overall design. The design of the economizer must be robust enough to survive occasional excursions beneath the acid dewpoint and the effects of the methods used to clean the economizer periodically. since general corrosion can take place in the latter rows of the economizer and in the exhaust gas ducts and chimney. on the other hand. represents a further cooling medium for the exhaust gases and provides the potential for the extra heat utilization. This may take the form of rapping equipment to shake off deposits. remembering. but it should be minimized. of course. which is also heavily dependent on fuel prices. since this extends the heat-saving potential but. In shell boilers with a working pressure of between 7 and 17 bar the temperature of the mass of water in the boiler is typically in the range of 170-21O0C. the boiler exit gas temperature cannot be economically reduced beneath about 200-26O0C. that at low fire this will have fallen closer still to the acid dewpoint (which is typically in the range of 125-14O0C. This limits the minimum practical gas exit temperature from the economizer to. dependent on the operating pressure. Fouling coefficients do not need to be incorporated into the design calculations as the surfaces remain clean indefinitely. It becomes necessary. this would result in a temperature too close to the acid dewpoint of the gases. This should be avoided. need an economizer section in the gas passes in order to obtain satisfactory efficiency. The limitation in gas temperature is the ability of the water to extract the heat. in practice. normally between the convective super-heater and the air heater if fitted. Average savings of 2-3% combined with the cost necessary for a robust design have therefore limited the use to times when fuel prices are high or special applications where the boiler exit temperature is higher than usual. to modify the process principles to achieve further heat utilization and recovery.
Combustion 1st convective 2nd convective pass chamber pass Economizer Boiler Figure 31. This in itself provides a secondary benefit in that the pitching of fins may be reduced without the risk of reducing flow. Although
the bulk gas temperature may be satisfactory. since the gas is virtually free of sulphur. sootblowing by steam or air and water washing with lances. For modern shell boilers. Since no serious problems exist with corrosion. the surfaces close to the tube wall will be nearly at water temperature due to the high conductivity of the metal tube.
31.31. The acid dewpoint is the temperature at which acidic gases begin to condense out of the exhaust gas mixture. This results in a 3% saving.2.3 Gas-fired economizers
Far greater potential exists for gas-fired economizers. The feedwater. almost as long as boilers themselves. say. although the water vapour in the gas caused by the combustion of hydrogen does give rise to a water dewpoint at 550C.
The driving force for heat transfer is temperature difference.6 shows a typical installation layout without this feature.15 n=1. it becomes necessary to revise the whole philosophy if enhanced heat recovery is desired.n=1. for that matter. As mentioned earlier. In other words. Water-side pressure loss is limited by the available spare pressure rise from the feed pump. [/. Designs are therefore to very stringent requirements so problems are rarely found. but care must be taken to ensure good conduction of heat away from the fin into the tube and subsequently into the water. Design and manufacture is normally to BS 1113:1998 but with the advent of the Pressure Equipment Directive 97/23/EC(PED) will be implemented under the Pressure Equipment Regulations 81200011:10999 (PER) throughout Europe and will revert to EN 12952 Watertube Boilers. Once again.5
% Flue gas loss (gross basis)
n=1. the flue gases are bypassed around the economizer. Gas-side velocities are generally limited by the available spare fan head from the burner. to install an induced-draught fan downstream of the economizer. This is often limited to 0. it is often necessary to adopt gas as the primary fuel and burn oil in periods of interruption when gas is unavailable. careful design to promote turbulence by staggered pitching enhances the heat transfer coefficient. for most industrial applications there being no lesser Standard which is relevant to economizers.2 n=1. can be maximized by the highest practical velocities that can be achieved for both the water and the gas.4 shows some of the attachment methods employed to ensure satisfactory fin to tube heat transfer. In addition to maximizing
.5. the potential can only be realized provided a requirement exists for such heat. A. The heat transfer coefficient.(Tgi ~ TW2) . can be greatly increased by using finned tubes.3 n=1. 0C (based on 2O0C ambient temp. and this is maximized through the economizer by arranging for concurrent flow through the passages.(Tgi . This precludes the use of the boiler feedwater. together with the bypass ducting into the basic design. the colder feed water is made available to the coolest gases. and therefore special low-temperature processes must be integrated into condensing economizer scheme. This quantity of water vapour is considerable (in the case of natural gas firing of the order of 1 ton per hour for a lOton/h steam boiler). If the gas can be reduced in temperature to beneath the water dewpoint of approximately 550C there exists a potential heat saving due to the latent heat of condensation of the water vapour as well as the sensible heat also contained in the exhaust gases.0
fluid velocities. The bypass duct must also contain a damper to simulate the economizer gas resistance so that the burner back pressure remains the same for both fuels. The heat transfer area. and is characterized by the logarithmic temperature difference AT/ m :
. Some common fin types are shown in Figure 31. it is not normally economic to replace this in the case of retrofitted economizers or. Figure 31. This means that the economizer has to be arranged so that when oil firing.Tw\) lm ~\ogn[(Tgl-Tw2)/(Tg2-Twl)]
Due to interruptible gas tariffs.) Figure 31.
31. A typical figure might be of the order of twice the boiler feedwater flow rate and at a temperature of mains water.4 n=1. Once again. as it is not generally economic to replace the feed pump. The temperature rise of this water would probably be about 450C. This gives the highest overall average temperature difference throughout the length of the economizer. This heat is of relatively low grade and therefore requires a large mass flow rate of water to absorb it.2-1.0 bar. Typical constructional arrangements (including tube layout) are shown in Figure 31.2 Total heat in gas-fired boiler exhaust
31. Assuming the exhaust gases are cooled
The amount of heat (Q\) that may be transferred is controlled by:
Q1 = ATlm -U-A
where U = overall heat transfer coefficient and A = heat transfer area.3 while Figure 31. Installation may be simplified by using an economizer where the manufacturer has integrated the dampers for isolating and trimming.6 Condensing economizers
The restrictions on feedwater temperature dictated by condensate rates and the need to minimize oxygen corrosion limit further development of the performance of conventional economizers.5 Installation
Flue gas temp.
31.1 n=1. To achieve a cost-effective design of economizer it is necessary to maximize the overall heat transfer coefficient and the surface area within the economizer.
(a) Wound on .plain fin
(b) Wound on .with turbulence inducing segments
(c) Lamel fin .non continuous
(a) Cast iron finned
(b) L type resistance welded
(c) I type resistance welded
(d) Ploughed and grooved Figure 31.3 Common fin types
(d) Lamel fin .square or rectangular continuous
Figure 31.4 Fin attachment methods
(e) Crimped on fin
(f) Integrally finned
6 Typical installation layout
.5 Economizer-typical designs
By-pass/trim damper Modulating feed control valve
Relief valve Economizer
Heat exchanger Orifice
Automatic temp Control valve
By-pass duct Figure 31.Economizer frame
Tube stack Ductwork Water out
Water in Water out
Heat exchanger (tube nest) Exhaust gases
Provided the correct choice of materials is made. since the use of the heat in the water will be given to a process which may be unrelated to boiler demand. The term 'fuel saving' needs to be qualified. food industries.8 Condensing economiser layout
Flue gas temp. the gross heat saving would be approximately 13%. Condensing boilers of this type take advantage of relatively low hot water return temperatures especially during warming up of the system and during very cold weather.7 illustrating the potential savings. abattoirs and swimming pool heating. Condensate from the exhaust gases are normally discharged to the drainage system. 23O0C to 4O0C. Note that an induced-draught fan is almost mandatory. Combustion @ n=1. This is
because some carbonic and nitric acid is formed in the condensing of the products of combustion and also as a result of other acidic gases in the atmosphere.970C
Draught controller 4O0C Induced draught fan
Boiler % Flue gas loss (gross basis) Gas analysis % by volume
CO2 dry CO2 wet
Damper' isolating/ draught control
O2 dry O2 wet-
Condensate to drain Figure 31. Fuel-Natural gas 2. horticultural soil heating.Notes: 1. since the condensed water vapour in the gas is slightly acidic (typically. since a high pressure loss is inevitable with such low-grade heat recovery. The total heat remaining in the exhaust gases of the boiler are shown in Figure 31. with a pH of 3-5). More recently condensing economizer technology has found favour in the domestic and commercial heating sectors where the cost has been minimized by integrating the principle into the boiler. Condensing economizers are constructed from corrosion-resistant materials (notably aluminium or stainless steel).15
25O0C Damper isolating/ oil firing Existing exhaust gas duct Main chimney
Dew point 54.) Figure 31. The design of such economizers often takes the form of a large shell and tube heat exchanger. The success of such schemes is highly dependent on matching supply and demand together with a basic lowgrade heat requirement. yielding a fuel saving of over 15%. Examples of suitable applications occur in industrial size laundries.7 Sensible and latent heat savings potential and gas analysis with condensing economizers
from. corrosion life should not become problematic.8. 0C (Based on 2O0C Ambient temp. say. but the conventional economizer construction of watertubes is quite feasible.
. A typical arrangement of a condensing economizer is shown in Figure 31.