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Nationwide Boiler was recently asked to take part in a survey-type article for the May issue of Power Engineering magazine. The focus was on the latest trends and best practices for burner and combustion system operation and maintenance. Below is our response and it includes where we think the industry is heading.

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Submitted by Larry Day, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Nationwide Boiler Inc.

As a user and a supplier of rental boilers, Nationwide Boiler Inc. has vast knowledge and experience with supplying and servicing equipment. When the company evaluates new equipment for our rental fleet or provides solutions for new boilers or boiler upgrades, we evaluate equipment that is easy to maintain, provides reliable performance for demanding applications, is the most energy efficient and is able to meet the strictest air emission requirements. We cannot risk onsite equipment failures, therefore we only evaluate quality products that provide immediate efficiency gains.

Energy efficiency is and has been a growing trend over the last five years. Best performance standards (BPS) exist today that we view as a basic requirement for any new boiler system. These standards utilize proven methods for achieving the highest thermal efficiency possible, all based on proven technology. One item boiler owners and operators should not overlook is the installation of VFD fan controls, offering instant energy savings when a unit is not operating at its peak capacity.

For proven burner performance, a minimal or no FGR low excess air burner with O2 trim should also be evaluated. This type of burner not only results in high turndown, but also offers better flame stability compared to ultra low NOx burners, utilizing high FGR or excess air, which are often times slow to respond to load swings and can rely on oversized FD fans that increase energy consumption.

For those operators who must comply with ultra low NOX emission standards, we view back-end technology as the most proven solution.  Compared to burners, SCRs eliminate burner flame stability concerns, slow response time and high horsepower FD fans required by front-end technology. In most cases there is no need to increase fan sizes or change burner controls and a SCR is a long term compliance solution, able to reduce NOx up to 95% with emissions as low as 2.5 ppm.

In terms of controls, we are seeing more units equipped with fully metered PLC combustion control systems with innovative touch screen operator interface. This removes a lot of the guesswork out of the operation of the boiler and may save valuable field service time. Also, having the ability to monitor operations remotely and gather historical data and trends provide meaningful and valuable information.

Overall, the trend for energy efficiency is not going away. It is important for boiler owners and operators to take a BPS technology approach when faced with a new boiler purchase or boiler upgrade decision. Many plants that have implemented this approach have benefited and Nationwide Boiler predicts that more will follow.

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The following is taken from an artile we published in the Winter edition of The Steamlines, our corporate newsletter.  Climate change and compliance in California and other parts of the nation is a hot topic, and often times, companies are faced with tough decisions, with little information. Find out how Nationwide Boiler dealt with meeting compliance, through a proactive approach. In the long run, it was the right decision and today we continue to push the envelop in energy efficiency and ultra low emissions.

A recent shift away from coal and towards natural gas has been brewing in the United States. Many companies are taking advantage of the plunge in natural gas prices due to the introduction of horizontal drilling technology leading to the expansion of new reserves throughout the United States.

Business Week recently reported that several major utilities including Progress Energy, Tampa Electric and General Electric all have new strategies based on a shift to natural gas. Many of these strategies are combined with other renewable energy projects such as solar and wind power, helping to create a “balanced” strategy and utilizing all possible energy and efficiency instruments.

However, the Energy Information Administration suggests that natural gas prices will not stay low for long and that the fuel-switching trend will be short-lived. It may only be a matter of time when the laws of supply and demand take in effect, driving up fuel prices. If and when this happens, will these strategies change or will it be too late? Unlike the utilities above which have conducted major shifts in their business plans associated with predicted price savings, many other companies in varying sectors have decided to wait before committing to long-term strategies. This holds especially true on the topic of climate change. Many companies are taking the sidelines until climate change policies become final and are not making risky shifts to their business plans. Overall, when it comes to long-term environmental planning, when is it the right time?

From experience, long-term, pre-compliance planning paid off for Nationwide Boiler. As local air quality regulations in California rapidly decreased the limits for NOx emissions, Nationwide took action to research and develop strategies that would enable our rental boiler fleet to perform at the lowest NOx levels available. Ultimately, Nationwide chose a compliance strategy based on the best technology currently available, able to deliver the highest performance. Our CataStak Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) System was born through this discovery and today the CataStak SCR product line includes solutions for gas turbines, steam generators, watertube and firetube boilers, field-erected boilers and heaters.

Had Nationwide waited for final determinations made by air quality regulators, we would not have been able to provide a product offering for our customers by the time compliance was mandatory. In the long run, pre-compliance planning enabled us to better serve our customers with reliable, well proven solutions and in the process the company has grown, provided new jobs and Nationwide Boiler has expanded its operations to include a new strategic business unit. The new business unit, Nationwide Environmental Solutions, was specifically formed to help solve tough compliance issues and provide total plant solution that yields both emission reductions and increased energy efficiency.

Currently, both federal and state regulators are proposing aggressive strategies to combat climate change and promote energy reductions. In California, the Global Warming Solutions Act requires California to develop regulations that will reduce gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Assembly Bill 32, targeting large generators of greenhouse gas, is currently in the drafting phase to support the act and it includes a cap-and-trade program that establishes a cap covering 85% of the state's GHG emissions. If passed, large industrial sources that process at or above 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents will fall under these rules starting January 1, 2012. Similar situations are happening in TX, NY and other areas around the United States and the implications for businesses (as well as consumers) may be insurmountable. Increases in electricity, natural gas, transportation, product, and administrative costs are unknown, but likely.

Through our own experience we have learned that in terms of environmental planning it is vital that companies look and plan ahead in order to effectively manage risks, control costs, and to maintain competitiveness. The development of pre-compliance strategies based on best performance standards and efficiency upgrades should be of concern for every major facility in addition to the negotiation of long-term fuel and supply-chain contracts.

If you need assistance in developing a pre-compliance strategy, call Nationwide Boiler today. Our proactive approach to climate change was the right choice for us, and we are confident that it will also be the best choice for you.

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Our latest case study, highlighting a major food processor is another example of how Nationwide Boiler can help achieve the best performance standards (BPS) for your boilers. We presented a E2Stak solution with a CataStak SCR system and an EconoStak economizer to a food processor in CA to achieve 5 ppm NOx and decease the plant's energy use, which resulted in the customer receiving a rebate check of almost $150,000. Not only did the we help the boilers achieve optimum performance, we also improved the operation and maintenance of the boiler. The plant manager's quote says it all: "This was the first year we could operate the boiler in automatic!"

If you are interested in decreasing your operating costs by saving energy and if you need to comply with tough emission standards, give Nationwide Boiler a call today at 800-227-1966. Our experience and expertise will provide you with additional options you may never have thought possible.

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We recently came across an article in Pollution Engineering that highlights an important issue for all major facilities - air fines and how to avoid them. It is everyone's responsibility to ensure compliance and the best way to do so is by educating yourself and your team and by networking with others in the industry. Below highlights the main points from the article, but please visit the link above for a more detailed approached.

1.     Compliance is a team effort and the best preventive measure is to keep the entire team aware and fully briefed on where the facility stands in regards to compliance. With everyone in the know, compliance becomes a vested interest and a shared responsibility.

2.     A basic review of your facility's Title V permit, a federally enforceable document that provides parameters on plant emissions, is a good first start. A review of the basic allowable permissions contained in the permit will lead the way.

3.     Set a date for a frequent (yearly) review of the Title V permit. This will help flag inconsistencies and avoid further inspections and notices of violation (NOV).

4.     Get to know your local inspectors and do not hesitate to ask them for guidance. Ask them informative questions about what common violations they have seen lately and what others in the industry are doing to keep in good standing.

5.     Check out the following websites: The EPA's Acid Rain Inspectors Guide and the Clean Air Markets Division.

6.     To help keep abreast of changing regulations, join an association membership and attend industry events (conferences, seminars and tradeshows). Organizations such as the ABMA, CIBO and others update their members on a continual basis.

7.     Subscribe to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Monthly Digest Bulletin. This e-magazine can be subscribed to by emailing usaepa@govdelivery.com. 

8.     Show pride in maintaining compliance and recognize and reward employees for their efforts in maintaining compliance.

9.     When evaluating vendors for stack testing, check their references, inquire about their experience in performing the tests needed to stay in compliance, and make sure that their work is conducted to the highest standards. Ask vendors if they are a Qualified Stack Test Individual, or QSTI.

10. Let your customers know about your compliance goals and your efforts to maintain "green" in your facility. Also promote this message to your stakeholders in the community.

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