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Energy Efficiency in Steam Systems

By Department Editor: Kate Torzewski |

In today’s typical process plants, preventing steam loss and improving condensate return are key opportunities to make a process more energy efficient. To be the most effective, steam generally needs to be dry (such as for process usage), or superheated (for instance, for use in turbines). These requirements dictate utility-system operating procedures for generating the highest quality steam possible, and then distributing it to the points of use with minimal deterioration. Since steam becomes condensate after its heat energy is expended, strategies must be in place to remove condensate as quickly as it is formed, in the steam-supply portion of the circuit and during steam usage alike. Furthermore, superheated steam is typically desuperheated by injecting hot condensate into the system. As a result, excessive wetness can also occur downstream of the desuperheating station. In either case, if such condensate is not removed from the steam supply, the negative impact on the steam system can be substantial, as seen in Table 1. Improving condensate return. At many plants, the operators admittedly realize that condensate must be removed as quickly as it is formed, but a suitable condensate drainage or transportation system…
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