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Boost Steam-System Efficiency by Improving Condensate Recovery

By Kelly Paffel, Inveno Engineering |

Pressurized condensate-return systems and flash-steam vent condensers offer opportunities for fuel cost savings in a plant’s steam system. Here’s how to take advantage Pressurized steam-condensate systems can provide plants with a minimum of between 15 and 35% savings in fuel costs when compared to conventional atmospherically vented steam-condensate systems. That is a tremendous opportunity for chemical process industries (CPI) facilities, since fuel prices have risen and are expected to increase even further. The pressurized condensate system should not be thought of as a luxury; rather, it should be considered a necessary component to maximize and increase the efficiency of a plant’s steam system (Figure 1). Unfortunately, it is not possible to implement high-pressure condensate return systems for all steam plants and all steam applications (see section below, “When Pressurized Condensate Recovery is Not Possible”). Therefore, proper preliminary engineering assessment, design review and knowledge of the application are necessary to ensure a successful condensate system. In the examples discussed in this article, energy savings of $226,700 were achieved by implementing a 50-psig pressurized steam-condensate…
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