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EFFICIENT USE OF STEAM

EFFICIENT USE OF STEAM


Steam is an excellent medium for storage and transport of heat
energy. Hence it finds immense application in industries for power
generation and for process steam in textile, paper, fertilizer and
several other biochemical industries. Wasting steam therefore
amounts to wasting precious energy and money.
Heat in steam is contained in the form of :
Sensible heat of water(small) + Latent heat of evaporation (large) +
Super heat of steam (depends on degree of super-heat). The
properties of steam are available in steam tables or T-s and Mollier
(H-s) charts.
Methods for efficient utilization of steam

1. Detecting and avoiding steam leakages


2. Providing dry steam for the process
3. Using steam at the lowest acceptable pressure for the process
4. Insulation of steam pipes and hot process equipment
5. Proper utilization of directly injected steam
6. Proper air venting
7. Minimizing thermal resistance for heat transfer into the boiler
8. Condensate recovery
9. Flash steam recovery
10. Proper choice and maintenance of steam traps
11. Proper sizing of steam and condensate pipe lines
12. Reducing the work to be done by the steam
Typical steam circuit energy distribution

Heat losses
Total
Steam In pipes
Heat in
Generator Unwanted work
Steam
Machine radiation

Flash steam
Condenser

Pump

Coolant Useful Output


losses
1. Steam leakage:
It can be easily noticed by the hissing noise. Generally occurs at
pipe joints, flanges, steam traps etc. A quantitative
estimation of steam flow shown below gives the colossal
magnitude of leakage losses.

250

20 bar
200
Steam loss kg/hr

150

100 5 bar

50

0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Hole dia (mm)
2. Providing dry steam for the process:
Dry saturated steam can maintain a controlled temperature
required for the process by setting the steam pressure. Wet
steam reduces the heat transfer due to formation of water film
on the surfaces and also overloads steam traps and the other
condensate handling equipment.
Wetness in steam can be controlled by (i) proper lagging of steam
pipes (ii) by installing steam separators (driers) near the point of
steam usage.
Dry steam Wet steam
out in Dry steam Wet steam
out in

Drain

STEAM SEPARATORS

Drain
3. Using steam at the lowest acceptable pressure:

It is economical to generate and transport steam at high


pressure, but is advantageous to use it at the lowest possible
pressure, since the latent heat, which is mainly used in the
processes, increases with lower pressures and leakage losses
also will decrease.
However, if it requires more time to complete the process
(drying etc), the common rule should be to use the lowest
possible pressure without sacrificing either production time
or steam consumption.
4. Providing proper insulation:
Care should be taken to-
a) To use proper insulation of adequate thickness for pipes and
hot machinery
b) Not to leave the pipe flanges without insulation (at least cover
them with easily removable insulation pads). It can be shown
that a 6” steam pipe with 5 uncovered flanges can lose heat
equivalent to 5 tons of coal or 3000 litres of oil a year.
c) Every m2 of unlagged steam pipe at a steam pressure of 7 bar
will have an hourly loss of 5500 kJ, equivalent to losing 2 kg of
steam per hour. Un-insulated steam pipes and hot machinery
also reduce the workers’ efficiency due to unbearable heat of
radiation.
5. Direct utilization of steam:
When the process requires heating of water, direct injection of
water into the liquid in the tank is more efficient than using a
heat exchanger. A steam pipe immersed deep in the liquid
tank with 2 to 5 mm holes facing downwards, and at a
reduced steam pressure of 0.5 to 1 bar(g) will avoid unwanted
agitation and escape of steam from the liquid surface. A
thermostatic control valve will ensure optimum use of steam
without overheating of the liquid. A check valve provided near
the end of the steam pipe will prevent backflow of the liquid
into the pipe due to partial vacuum resulting from steam
condensation when the steam flow is stopped after the
heating process.
When absolutely no agitation of liquid is permitted, heating
through a heat exchanger is the only solution.
6. Providing proper air venting:
Air leakage and accumulation in the steam system will reduce
the partial pressure of steam, destroy condenser vacuum and
increase thermal resistance for heat transfer. This has the
effect of reducing the steam temperature, increasing the
Steam in
condenser pressure and
reducing the boiler efficiency.
The overall process efficiency
therefore drops. Air vents are
therefore located where air is
rather stagnant and vented off … ..……….
. …. ..
.,.,.,.,.,
..
……. ……..…... ....
..…
periodically independently or :::
.. …:::
….……….
air
. .
...
..
along with the condensate. Air and
condensate -
trap
7. Minimizing Heat Transfer Barriers:

Condensate film

Stagnant gas film


Metal

combustion
Air film
Steam

products
Gaseous
Scale

Scale
Chief barriers of heat transfer are steam film, air film, condensate film, scale,
metal surface and stagnant combustion gas film. Air offers 13000 times
greater thermal resistance than copper metal. Air and condensate
resistance can be brought down by using adequately located air vents and
condensate traps. Scale problems have to be tackled by using specified
quality of feed water for internal scale and periodic use of soot blowers
and scrapers for the external scale.
8. Condensate recovery:
The condensate contains around 15 to 25 % of the total heat of
steam. If it is properly collected, it can be reused in any of
the following ways.
a) As feed water to the boiler without any need for further
chemical treatment. It is estimated that a 6°C rise in feed
temperature saves 1% fuel bill on the boiler.
b) It can be used as a source of hot water for several other
applications.
c) It can be flashed into low pressure steam for use else-
where in the plant.
d) If the condensate is contaminated with corrosive liquids,
heat exchangers can be used to extract its heat.
9. Flash steam recovery:

Flash steam is produced when high pressure condensate is


released to a lower pressure and can be used for low pressure
processes or heating.
Flash steam fraction = (S1 – S2) / L2,
Where, S1 and S2 are the sensible heat of condensate at the high
and low pressure and L2 is the latent heat at the low pressure.

Generally about 5 % flash steam could be generated. Higher the


steam pressure and lower the flash pressure higher will be the
flash steam produced.
Flash steam percent generated

14

12

10
Gauge Pr on trap (bar)

2
0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Flash Steam Produced (%)
Typical application of Flash steam recovery

Low pr.steam
High pr.steam

S.T

Low pr. Flash steam


PLANT- A PLANT-B

S.T S.T

Flash
Vessel

S.T

Condensate to feed line


( S.T – Steam Trap )
10. Proper Choice of Steam Traps:

Types of traps:
1. Mechanical type:
Operates on the difference in density between condensate
and steam.
a) Float type: i) Plain float ii) Trip float
b) Bucket type: i) Open bucket ii) Inverted bucket

Used in Heat Exchangers, Boiling pans, Unit heaters,


Digesters, Brewing copper etc.
2. Thermostatic Type:
Operates by sensing the temperature difference between
condensate and steam.
a) Balanced pressure type
b) Liquid expansion type
c) Bimetal type
Used in Boiling pans, Hot process tables etc

3. Thermodynamic Type:
Operates on the forces generated by flashing condensate
and steam flowing through orifice.
Used in Steam mains and steam separators, branch
mains leading to process equipment, driers, multi-plate
presses etc.
4. General type:
a) Impulse type
b) Pilot operator type
c) Labyrinth type
d) Ogden pump type

Applications:
Ogden pump type traps are some times used in Steam
mains and separators, Heat exchangers, Brewing copper,
Digesters etc.
After mashing, the beer wort is boiled with hops (and other
flavourings if used) in a large tank known as a "copper" or
brew kettle – though historically the mash vessel was used
and is still in some small breweries.
11. Proper sizing of Pipe lines:
Small diameter pipes cause higher pressure drop. But large sizes
cost money and increased radiation losses.
Sizing of short branches of steam pipes is done by setting a
steam velocity of 15 m/s. Higher velocities cause noise and
pipe erosion, particularly with wet steam.
Sizing of long pipe lines is done solely on pressure drop
considerations. Generally the steam velocity is to be kept
much less than 15 m/s to avoid excessive pressure drop.
Condensate pipes of small size will increase back pressure on the
traps, and if oversized would become capital intensive.
Since during start up, large amount of cold air, condensate (and
flash steam) have to be dealt with, in practice pipes are sized
for starting conditions only, when the load will be nearly
double the running load.
12. Reducing the work to be done by the steam:
All possible measures should be taken to avoid over working by
steam such as overheating of liquids, wastage of steam and
condensate for washing vessels and trays in chocolate factories,
keeping the laundry cloths too wet for drying on steam drums
(without proper squeezing of water) etc.

A periodic energy audit will reveal areas of steam


wastage. With proper care and judicious use of steam,
overall production can be increased to achieve higher
economy and efficiency.
Remember, a unit of energy saved is equivalent to three
units of primary energy conserved.
6. Providing proper air venting:
Air leakage and accumulation in the steam system will reduce
the partial pressure of steam, destroy condenser vacuum and
increase thermal resistance for heat transfer. This has the
effect of reducing the steam temperature, increasing the
Steam in
condenser pressure and
reducing the boiler efficiency.
The overall process efficiency
therefore drops. Air vents are
therefore located where air is
rather stagnant and vented off … ..……….
. …. ..
.,.,.,.,.,
..
……. ……..…... ....
..…
periodically independently or :::
.. …:::
….……….
air
. .
...
..
along with the condensate. Air and
condensate -
trap
7. Minimizing Heat Transfer Barriers:

Condensate film

Stagnant gas film


Metal

combustion
Air film
Steam

products
Gaseous
Scale

Scale
Chief barriers of heat transfer are steam film, air film, condensate film, scale,
metal surface and stagnant combustion gas film. Air offers 13000 times
greater thermal resistance than copper metal. Air and condensate
resistance can be brought down by using adequately located air vents and
condensate traps. Scale problems have to be tackled by using specified
quality of feed water for internal scale and periodic use of soot blowers
and scrapers for the external scale.
8. Condensate recovery:
The condensate contains around 15 to 25 % of the total heat of
steam. If it is properly collected, it can be reused in any of
the following ways.
a) As feed water to the boiler without any need for further
chemical treatment. It is estimated that a 6°C rise in feed
temperature saves 1% fuel bill on the boiler.
b) It can be used as a source of hot water for several other
applications.
c) It can be flashed into low pressure steam for use else-
where in the plant.
d) If the condensate is contaminated with corrosive liquids,
heat exchangers can be used to extract its heat.
9. Flash steam recovery:

Flash steam is produced when high pressure condensate is


released to a lower pressure and can be used for low pressure
processes or heating.
Flash steam fraction = (S1 – S2) / L2,
Where, S1 and S2 are the sensible heat of condensate at the high
and low pressure and L2 is the latent heat at the low pressure.

Generally about 5 % flash steam could be generated. Higher the


steam pressure and lower the flash pressure higher will be the
flash steam produced.
Flash steam percent generated

14

12

10
Gauge Pr on trap (bar)

2
0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Flash Steam Produced (%)
Typical application of Flash steam recovery

Low pr.steam
High pr.steam

S.T

Low pr. Flash steam


PLANT- A PLANT-B

S.T S.T

Flash
Vessel

S.T

Condensate to feed line


( S.T – Steam Trap )
10. Proper Choice of Steam Traps:

Types of traps:
1. Mechanical type:
Operates on the difference in density between condensate
and steam.
a) Float type: i) Plain float ii) Trip float
b) Bucket type: i) Open bucket ii) Inverted bucket

Used in Heat Exchangers, Boiling pans, Unit heaters,


Digesters, Brewing copper etc.
2. Thermostatic Type:
Operates by sensing the temperature difference between
condensate and steam.
a) Balanced pressure type
b) Liquid expansion type
c) Bimetal type
Used in Boiling pans, Hot process tables etc

3. Thermodynamic Type:
Operates on the forces generated by flashing condensate
and steam flowing through orifice.
Used in Steam mains and steam separators, branch
mains leading to process equipment, driers, multi-plate
presses etc.
4. General type:
a) Impulse type
b) Pilot operator type
c) Labyrinth type
d) Ogden pump type

Applications:
Ogden pump type traps are some times used in Steam
mains and separators, Heat exchangers, Brewing copper,
Digesters etc.
After mashing, the beer wort is boiled with hops (and other
flavourings if used) in a large tank known as a "copper" or
brew kettle – though historically the mash vessel was used
and is still in some small breweries.
11. Proper sizing of Pipe lines:
Small diameter pipes cause higher pressure drop. But large sizes
cost money and increased radiation losses.
Sizing of short branches of steam pipes is done by setting a
steam velocity of 15 m/s. Higher velocities cause noise and
pipe erosion, particularly with wet steam.
Sizing of long pipe lines is done solely on pressure drop
considerations. Generally the steam velocity is to be kept
much less than 15 m/s to avoid excessive pressure drop.
Condensate pipes of small size will increase back pressure on the
traps, and if oversized would become capital intensive.
Since during start up, large amount of cold air, condensate (and
flash steam) have to be dealt with, in practice pipes are sized
for starting conditions only, when the load will be nearly
double the running load.
12. Reducing the work to be done by the steam:
All possible measures should be taken to avoid over working by
steam such as overheating of liquids, wastage of steam and
condensate for washing vessels and trays in chocolate factories,
keeping the laundry cloths too wet for drying on steam drums
(without proper squeezing of water) etc.

A periodic energy audit will reveal areas of steam


wastage. With proper care and judicious use of steam,
overall production can be increased to achieve higher
economy and efficiency.
Remember, a unit of energy saved is equivalent to three
units of primary energy conserved.