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The latest trend... Here it is!

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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