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Steam: An Essential Utility, and the Rental Boiler Industry

Rental boilers are often overlooked as a necessity for many processing industries. However, in the midst of a crisis, the need for steam becomes much more apparent to the public eye. In the latest podcast episode from Inside the Boiler Room, ABMA President Scott Lynch discusses the rental boiler industry with Larry Day, Nationwide Boiler's President & CEO. Larry shares his insights on the world of rental boilers, which has significant relevance during the COVID-19 crisis with boilers near capacity at many hospitals and food processing facilities.

Larry and Scott discuss an array of topics, including the importance of rental boilers in times of crisis. As Larry stated, "Anytime there is a natural disaster, rental boilers are looked at almost like generators or air compressors. Steam is a utility, and that's where it comes in as an emergency condition. [Many businesses] need that utility to keep running." 

A rental boiler can provide added capacity for increased production needs or it can temporarily replace an existing boiler to keep a plant running. Specific information about the process must be known for the supplier to accurately quote a rental boiler application. This includes:  

  •    (1) Boiler Size / Steam Capacity Requirement (typically in HP or lb/hr)
  •    (2) Operating Pressure
  •    (3) Saturated or Superheated Steam Need (if superheat, what temperature)
  •    (4) Fuel Requirement
  •    (5) Any Auxiliary Equipment Needs
  •    (6) Emissions Requirements

Listen to the podcast now to learn more about rental boiler basics, the evolution of the rental boiler industry, and potential challenges with different technology and maintenance of rental boiler systems. Also, be sure to check out the ABMA’s Guideline for Rental Boilers, developed by members of the ABMA Rental Boiler Group, including Nationwide Boiler Inc.  

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National Board Shares Jurisdiction Regulatory Changes Due to COVID-19

Businesses across the globe are being affected by the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today the National Board posted a supplement to NB-370, The National Board Synopsis of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Laws, Rules and Regulations, which contains temporary changes being made by individual National Board member jurisdictions.

The newly curated webpage provides important and up-to-date policies for installation and inservice inspections, for each jurisdiction that has implemented temporary changes. The database will be updated continually as the crisis evolves.

To learn about regulatory changes in your jurisdiction, visit the National Board website.
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CataStak SCR System Exceeds NOx Guarantee

Nationwide Environmental Solutions is a division of Nationwide Boiler, formed over a decade ago to provide emissions and efficiency solutions to our wide range of customers. In today's day and age, protecting the environment and reducing the production of greenhouse gases is more important than ever, which is why we are so proud to have a product that exceeds expectations time and time again. 

Most recently, we teamed up with MDH Boiler Serviced to supply a food processing facility in Southern California with a new burner and CataStak SCR system retrofit for their existing 475 hp firetube boiler. With lower than typical exhaust temperatures for an SCR application, a more robust system was designed to ensure adequate performance. We are happy to report that the system not only met the guarantee of 5 ppm NOx, but actually exceeded expectations and tested at just 1 ppm NOx and 1 ppm ammonia slip! Exciting news for the team, solidifying future orders that will support the end-user efforts in reducing their company's overall greenhouse gas emissions. Check out our latest press release for the full story.

If your facility is under an air district mandate to reduce the NOx and/or CO output from your boiler or other fired equipment, give us a call at 1-800-227-1966 to learn how we can help.

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Temporary Facility Closures Call For Proper Boiler Shut Down Procedures

When offline, boilers can still be at risk of accumulating corrosion and deterioration that decreases the useful life of a boiler and increases maintenance and repair costs. With proper planning and preparation, a boiler can be taken offline safely with a procedure known as boiler lay up. There are two specific ways to properly shut down your boiler: dry lay up or wet lay up.

Dry lay up is a procedure that involves removing all water and moisture from the boiler. The main advantage of a dry lay up is that you can basically “set it and forget it”. There are no chemical, equipment, or fuel costs. Once completed, the boiler will just need to be checked occasionally to ensure moisture is not getting back into the boiler. A dry lay up is best for extended periods of shutdown. If the system will need to be put back online on short notice or remain in standby, this procedure would not be suitable.

A typical dry lay up procedure involves the following steps:

1 Perform a lock-out and tag-out and isolate the boiler from the steam system
2 Perform column and bottom blowdowns and drain the boiler completely
3 Open the fireside and remove any soot from the tubes. Look for rust or scale on the pressure boundary wall, and further evaluate any leakage. Inspect refractory and insulation

4

Open the waterside and look for signs of gasket leakage and corrosion of the gasket seating surface. Inspect the entire waterside and evaluate any scale and corrosion.
      - Any scale left on the waterside can trap moisture and oxygen and corrode the boiler further, 
        so remove as much scale as possible.
5 Dry all surfaces with a fan or electric air heater.
6 Have a certified boiler inspector perform a thorough examination of all surfaces, internal and external.
7 Determine if any repairs are required – this may be the ideal time to perform repairs without incurring downtime, since you are already preparing for an extended offline period.
8 Coat the fireside with mineral oil, let dry, and close all openings including the stack. A moisture-absorbing material like silica gel or lime should be placed inside the system and replaced every 2 months during the shutdown.

 
A wet lay up is performed when the boiler is idle in standby; it is still full of water but isolated from the steam system while the burner remains offline. The procedure involves chemically treating the water to protect the metal surfaces of the boiler and is  the ideal lay up method when a boiler might need to be fired on short notice. It does, however, require additional monitoring and treatment costs that aren’t required for a dry lay up.

A typical wet lay up procedure is very similar to a dry lay up, however, the fireside should not be swabbed with mineral oil.

1 Follow steps 1-7 above.
2 Fill the boiler with the chemically treated hot water (greater than 180F) to its normal operating level. Allow air to continue to vent until the boiler is full or until the steam boiler is at its normal operating level and warm.
3 Once complete, boiler water should be circulated periodically to prevent stratification of chemicals. Chemical concentrations should also be monitored routinely.

 
Before starting a steam boiler in wet lay-up, blow down the boiler to reduce alkalinity, ensure that all tags and locks are removed, and be sure to witness a minimum of three steam cycles before allowing the boiler to run in automatic. This will help ensure proper operation after bringing a system back online from a wet lay up.

If your facility falls under a temporary business closure mandate due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that you follow one of the procedures outlined above to properly shut down your boiler system. View this technical article provided by the National Board for more detailed information on these two types of boiler lay up procedures.

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