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Boiler Basics 101: Deaerators & Feedwater Systems

Deaeration of boiler feed water is primarily known to remove dissolved oxygen from the water, however, there are four additional advantages of utilizing a deaerator: (1) carbon dioxide removal, (2) improved operation, (3) improved heat transfer, and (4) energy savings. In this month’s edition of Boiler Basics 101, we review the importance of including deaerators as part of your boiler plant.

Corrosion in boilers from dissolved gases leads to reduced heat transfer and efficiency losses. Both oxygen and carbon dioxide, if not removed from the water entering a boiler, will cause corrosion. Dissolved oxygen will attach to the metallic components of a steam system and form oxides, or rust, on boiler heat transfer surfaces. If carbon dioxide is present with the oxygen, the two gases together can be up to 40 percent more corrosive than if they were acting individually. Removing non-condensable gases and limiting or avoiding corrosion will greatly improve heat transfer.

Deaerators also serve the purpose of pre-heating the water before it enters the boiler. This process saves energy by recovering flash and exhaust steam from plant returns, energy that would normally be lost to the atmosphere, and utilizing it to pre-heat the feedwater. This recovered steam can account for 20 percent of the fuel typically required to provide heat for that process. Pre-heating the feedwater will also greatly reduce the chance of thermal shock caused by the expansion and contraction of heating surfaces and will ultimately improve the operation of your boiler.

Deaerators and atmospheric feedwater systems both have the same purpose and are made up of several individual devices including feed pumps, a corrosion resistant receiver tank, and a control panel. A deaerator does its job by mixing steam with soft water inside a pressurized tank, removing oxygen molecules which are then vented into the atmosphere. Atmospheric feedwater systems are non-pressurized and perform the same function while operating at a lower (atmospheric) pressure. A notable disadvantage of operating at a lower pressure is that a lesser amount of dissolved gases are removed. Although atmospheric systems are more cost effective, process requirements will dictate which system is ideal for your application.

Overall, if boiler feed water is not properly deaerated, corrosion will occur, and a boiler will operate less efficiently with a higher possibility of facing costly downtime and boiler repairs. Nationwide Boiler provides new deaerators and maintains a rental fleet of deaerating boiler feedwater systems for both low and high pressure applications. Our systems range in size for boilers 24,000 to 225,000 lb/hr, and are configured one of two ways: a skid-mounted deaerator with feed pump stand or complete mobile feedwater system including the deaerator, feed water pumps, water softener, and chemical feed system, all pre-piped and wired and installed inside of a trailer-mounted van.  

Be sure to check out our previous Boiler Basics 101 blogs and stay tuned for the next edition!

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Our Response to COVID-19

Nationwide Boiler is actively monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and has enacted a semi-remote protocol to help “flatten the curve”. Please understand that we are still fully operational and able to support the many essential industries that we serve, including our hospitals and medical care facilities / suppliers, food processors, petroleum refineries, pulp and paper plants, manufacturing, and electrical power generation facilities. Rest assured that if an emergency need arises and a rental boiler is required quickly, we will be able to fulfill any request as we would on a typical operating basis.

Our sales, engineering and marketing teams are working remote and are fully accessible via email and phone calls. Our accounting team is working diligently to continue the functions necessary for day-to-day operations, and we have a partial shipping and receiving protocol in place with employees available on stand-by if a piece of equipment needs to get serviced and ready to ship out. At our offices, we have implemented additional measures as recommended by the CDC and the federal government, including a higher focus on cleaning and sanitizing commonly touched surfaces and the practice of social distancing. Lastly, we are restricting all non-essential travel and will carefully review and approve any essential travel to continue providing service and support.

We at Nationwide Boiler realize that this global situation affects many business and individuals, and we are here to provide as much support as possible while practicing the necessary measures to slow the outbreak. Our customers depend on us, and we will not let you down even in these uncertain times. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates via our social media channels as they arise.

Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns: info@nationwideboiler.com.

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Boiler Basics 101: Burners

The burner is the key equipment component for combustion control systems, providing the heat required for a boiler to convert water into steam. Ideally, a burner should achieve the highest degree of combustion efficiency with the lowest possible excess air. In this month’s edition of Boiler Basics 101, we will discuss the importance of burners and how they fit into the overall picture within the boiler system.

An industrial burner provides a basic function with a simple concept: it mixes fuel and air together to create combustion. Burners can be fired on various types of fuel but the most common utilized are natural gas, oil, propane and coal. In recent years, facilities have moved away from the use of coal to a more efficient and cleaner fuel like natural gas.

Regardless of the type of fuel used, the burner must perform five functions:

  1. Deliver fuel to the combustion chamber
  2. Deliver air to the combustion chamber
  3. Mix the fuel and air
  4. Ignite and burn the mixture
  5. Remove the products of combustion

Complete combustion occurs when all combustible elements and compounds of the fuel are entirely oxidized. However, with complete combustion comes harmful byproducts of combustion, including NOx and CO.

The amount of NOx and CO generated depends greatly on the burner design as well as the fuel fired. Burners with uncontrolled NOx may produce 60 ppm or more. Low NOx burners are the current standard and typically produce NOx of 30 ppm. Ultra-low NOx designs have been developed but are limited to firing on natural gas or propane. These types of burners will reduce NOx emissions to as low as 5 ppm to meet strict environmental requirements that are now common in certain parts of the country. If further NOx reduction is required, Nationwide Boiler’s CataStak™ SCR system can be utilized in conjunction with a low NOx burner.

The right burner design, along with proper combustion controls, will maximize the efficiencies of your boiler system. And as a representative of Webster Combustion, Nationwide Boiler and Pacific Combustion Engineering can help in the proper selection of your new or retrofit burner.

Be sure to check out our next Boiler Basics 101 blog to continue learning about various boiler-related topics.

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2020 Trade Show Tour Kickoff

Nationwide Boiler’s 2020 trade show tour officially begins next week, and we will be exhibiting at four separate events in the first quarter of the year. We aim to attend multiple industry focused conferences and tradeshows to showcase the many products and services we have available to each industry, and these upcoming events are ones you won’t want to miss.

Our first show of the year is CampusEnergy 2020, taking place at the Sheraton Denver Downtown from February 10th - 14th.One of the main themes of this year’s event is the “Power to Change”. CampusEnergy is a great opportunity for IDEA members, CHP and microgrid industries to come together, share experiences and explore new solutions with each other. Inside Sales Engineer, Luke Honnen will be at the show with our local representative, Dick van der Helm, from Heat Transfer Specialists. Nationwide Boiler has been providing products and services to colleges, universities, and district heating plants for many years. We are happy to support and work together with college and university campuses around the globe to help renew, decarbonize, strengthen and bring the “Power to Change” to these important community assets. If you will be at the show, be sure to stop by the Nationwide booth #102!

That same week we will be exhibiting at the Food Processing Expo, conveniently being held right in our backyard. Typically, a Sacramento based show, the Food Processing Expo is scheduled for Feb 12th - 13th at the Santa Clara Convention Center this year only and will feature a dynamic and exciting array of speakers and workshops. Nationwide Boiler has been providing products and services to the food processing industry for over fifty years and CLFP provides a great opportunity to engage directly with the industry. Representatives from all three of our divisions will be in attendance and ready to discuss your next project - don’t forget to visit us at booth #2128!

Next in line we have Northwest Food & Beverage World, which will take place at the Convention Center in Spokane, WA from February 17-19. This year’s event will include more than 300 booths and over 30 different educational sessions filled with vendors and key speakers representing the food and beverage industry. The food processing industry relies heavily on companies like Nationwide Boiler to provide temporary steam for seasonal production, and we are always ready to support both planned and unplanned projects. We can also provide new and reconditioned boilers, BMS/CCS controls upgrades, and CataStak SCR systems for ultra-low NOx compliance. If you will be attending the show, stop by and check out our booth #1330 to visit and meet with Mike Dorthalina and Matt Pope of Pacific Combustion Engineering, a division of Nationwide Boiler Inc.

The final show of the quarter is the Western Regional Boiler Association (WRBA) Conference from March 31st - April 2nd at the Coeur 'd Alene Resort in Idaho. Another great platform for boiler owners and vendors to come together and discuss updates within the industry. The event will be jammed packed entertainment and education - with 15 different educational presentations that cover a wide range of topics, a casino night, and a dinner cruise on Lake Coeur 'd Alene. 

 

Stay tuned on our social pages for further announcements and photos from each event. We look forward to meeting you this year!

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