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Steam Quality Considerations

By James R. Risko |

Steam often provides the majority of heat, but its quality is not always carefully managed. Here are some tips on how to improve and maintain steam quality Plant operations focus on production activity, maintaining tight control on process algorithms, feedstocks and equipment. Steam often provides the majority of heat, but its quality is not carefully managed. Do engineers consider all distributed steam to be equal in quality? There are several questions I like to ask when meeting with steam engineers or operators for the first time, such as the following: If you were the plant manager, would you want to optimize production value? Would you willingly accept off-specification feedstock or equipment? Where does the plant get the majority of heat used in production? If the answer is, “steam,” is it superheated, saturated or wet? The typical answer to the last question is, “We have all three types of steam.” That’s when I tell them that their answer is impossible, there is no such thing as sustainable saturated steam in a production plant. “Your steam is wet.” Because steam is wet, one further question arises, “How can a plant optimize production if their steam heat asset is in a sub-optimal condition?” Steam…
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