We recently had an application where we had initially proposed a fire tube steam boiler. Upon further disclosure of the process specifics, by the customer, the use of a Steam Boiler for process heat had to be revisited.
A customer had an application with a single user, over 90% condensate return and minimal losses. Therefore, the condensate return was expected to be relatively hot. More to the point, it was too hot for use with an atmospheric feed water system. We needed some additional condensate loss so that we could utilize more feed water, as this would cool the condensate to the point that an atmospheric feed water tank could be used. Unfortunately, we had no process or application creating this additional condensate loss.
We could have switched to a pressurized deaerator/feed water system but this project was on the border of economic feasibility. The additional cost was detrimental.
The heat source was then revisited. Two options came to mind.
The first option was Pressurized Hot Water. This solution initially was considered ideal based on several points.
A) Water is generally considered the perfect heat transfer medium yielding excellent heat transfer characteristics
B) No feed water requirement, no condensate losses or blow down losses
C) Low Cost
The primary drawbacks to the use of Pressurized Hot Water is Corrosion Potential and Freeze Potential. If the system was installed outdoors, subject to frequent shutdowns (weekends and holidays), the system could be subject to freezing thus requiring freeze protection.
The second option was Thermal Fluid (Hot Oil). This solution resulted in no drawbacks that were considered detrimental. Although the Thermal Oil Heater initially was perceived to cost more than the Steam Boiler, once you took into consideration the auxiliary components required for both systems, the Thermal Fluid Heater often resulted in reduced the capital expenditure. In addition, maintenance and operating costs were projected lower as well.
Performance Heating, LLC designs and supplies process heating systems throughout the USA and Canada. Performance Heating supplies Thermal Fluid Heaters and Steam Boilers manufactured by BONO Energia SpA, an ISO 9001 company, meeting the codes and standards of customers worldwide.