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Improper water treatment is one of the leading causes of poor boiler performance and can cause boiler tube damage that is irreversible. This is because hard water, or mineral rich water, can result in scale on boiler watersides. This scale is undesirable in water systems because it acts as an insulator and prevents proper heat transfer. Scale deposits of just 1/16” thick can decrease boiler efficiency by 20% and can lead to premature boiler failure and costly downtime.

To avoid this scenario, water softening is a widely-used and economical type of pre-treatment for boiler system. A water softener is an ion exchanger designed to remove the positively charged ions and replace them with sodium or potassium exchanger ions. Hard water contains the positively charged ions magnesium, calcium and iron. The water softening process nearly frees the water from these minerals and decreases the risk of tube scaling and irreversible boiler damage. Water softening, when combined with a reliable water treatment chemical program and blowdown schedule, can lead to many years of reliable boiler system performance.

We’ve installed duplex water softening systems in all of our mobile boiler rooms and mobile steam plants to ensure optimal boiler performance. We also have larger skid-mounted duplex water softeners available for rent or purchase. For more information on products and services available, visit our website at www.nationwideboiler.com.

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Nationwide Boiler is pleased to be attending the 11th Annual Shutdowns Superconference in Houston June 25-26th, organized by the Canadian Institute Energy Group. This event delivers the most practical turnaround solutions from local and international experts who will provide you with the latest techniques and tools on how to manage a large or small scale turnaround across a variety of industries.

Speakers representing the most recognized oil and gas companies in the world will be on hand to discuss innovative ways to take your shutdown, turnaround or outage to the next level. Nationwide Boiler will also be in attendance to ensure that all your boiler needs are taken care of, in addition to answer any questions you may have regarding the CataStak™ SCR system for trusted 5 ppm NOx compliance.

We hope to see you in Houston next week!

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The latest issue of Power Engineering Magazine includes a feature article highlighting Nationwide Boilers first ever Ammonia-Free CataStak SCR installation for two 55,000 lb/hr watertube boilers. The system easily reduced NOx emissions to comply with local air regulations. To see the publication and learn more about this project, click here!

NOx Limits Met with Ammonia-Free SCR Solution from Nationwide Boiler Inc.

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Boilers come in all different types, sizes, and shapes and are classified by configuration of the furnace, or firesides, and the watertubes, or water holding volume. The two main boiler types consist of firetube and watertube boilers, and deciding which of the two will best fit your process needs is not as easy as it may seem. It is like comparing apples to oranges; it’s not as simple as just comparing prices for similar nameplate steam capacity, and there are some significant differences to consider.

With firetube boilers, flue gases are directed through vertical or horizontal steel tubes that are surrounded by the water for heating, and typically go through two, three, or four passes, or changes in direction. In watertube boilers, the arrangement is reversed. Instead of the water being outside the tubes, it circulates inside the tubes and is heated externally by the combustion gases. Fuel is burned inside the furnace, which heats the water in the steam-generating tubes. The water then rises to the steam drum where saturated steam is drawn from the top of the drum. The watertube boiler has some relative advantages over the firetube boiler design, which are outlined below.

Watertube boilers are safer by design and generally considered to last much longer than the firetube boiler. They are available in much larger sizes and recover faster than firetube boilers, can handle pressures up to 5000 psig, and have the ability to reach very high temperatures with the use of superheaters. Because of their inherent design, firetube boilers are not suitable for pressures above 350 psig. Also, the steam output is less than the nameplate at actual operating conditions. Watertube boilers are rated at actual operating conditions. However, from a manufacturing standpoint, firetube boilers are typically lower in cost than a comparable sized watertube boiler, the firesides are easier to clean, and the straight firetubes are easily replaceable.

Let’s not forget that there is a tremendous difference in water volume between a firetube boiler and a watertube boiler. From a cold start, the firetube boiler, due to its larger water volume, takes longer to bring up to operating temperature or pressure vs. a similar sized watertube boiler. With less water volume, a watertube boiler can follow load swings more precisely and generally has better turndown. However, one advantage that the firetube boiler does offer is that once it is up to operating pressure, it can handle a sudden upward load surge better because of the large steam disengaging area. The drawback to this feature is once you drop pressure on the firetube, it takes longer to catch back up.

The rule of thumb is that if you have a very constant and steady load that doesn’t vary much, than the firetube boiler may work well. If you have a swing or varying load, then the watertube boiler is generally a better choice.

Click here to view Nationwide Boiler's current inventory of firetube and watertube boilers available for shipment anywhere in the world!

 

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