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A Look into the Design & Safety Features of Combustion Control Systems

With over 30 years of experience, our General Manager at Pacific Combustion Engineering, Jack Valentine, is an expert when it comes to the design of combustion control systems. In the Winter 2021 edition of Today’s Boiler, Jack discusses the features and options typical of Combustion Control Systems today. Let’s take a peek at what he had to say.

Combustion equipment safety is essential for the daily operation of facilities and safety of plant personnel. Safety protocols and mechanisms in industrial plants have improved drastically in the last century, but incidents still occur far too frequently. Because boiler systems are inherently dangerous, safety must be factored into the design of not just the boiler, but also the burner, combustion control, and the overall operation of the system.  

The Combustion Control System (CCS) on a boiler, also known as the Boiler Control System (BCS), refers to the set of instrumentation and controls that modulates the firing rate of the burner in response to load demand while maintaining the proper air/fuel ratio (AFR). It works in conjunction with the Burner Management System (BMS) that provides safeguards before, during the initial light-off of the burner, and at shutdown. The BMS also provides the flame safeties and interlocks required to keep the boiler safe during continuous operation. Depending upon the complexity of the boiler, the CCS can also provide other functions such as drum level control and draft control.  With Low NOx burners, it also controls the proper amount of flue gas recirculation (FGR) to the burner.

For the sake of simplicity, the various types of CCS described below will be for boilers firing a single fuel gas only; fuel oil and solid fuel systems add an entirely new level of complexity.

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Preventing Freeze Damage This Winter

It's that time of year again for our annual freeze protection reminders. As you know, winter can bring extremely cold weather conditions, especially in Canada, the Northeast, Midwest, and Upper Midwest. To reiterate what we have been saying for years, here are a few things to consider to protect your rental boiler and auxiliary equipment (deaerators, water softeners, etc.) from damage due to freezing temperatures this winter.

1. If you are renting a trailer or skid-mounted firetube or watertube boiler and installing the unit outdoors, these systems are completely exposed to the environment. User's should consider enclosing the front and/or the rear end of the boiler, or build a temporary enclosure around the entire system. An external heating source should also be used. 

2. Install the proper heat tracing (steam or electric) and insulation on all main lines and piping components, regardless of whether the boiler (or auxiliary equipment) is in operation or sitting as stand-by. This should include the following lines: 
      - Sensing lines for all transmitters
      - Primary and auxiliary low-water cut-offs
      - Water column and connected piping
      - Bottom blowdown and surface blow-off piping, depending on the length of the piping runs. These valves should also be left open. 

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Decarbonization: What Does it Mean for the Rental Boiler Industry?

Decarbonization relates to the reduction or ultimately the extinction of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere. According to the EPA, Carbon Monoxide (CO2) makes up the vast majority of greenhouse gases released during the combustion of fossil fuels. In addition to CO2, smaller amounts of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are also emitted during the combustion process. With majority of rental boilers being natural gas or oil fired, what does this mean for the future of rental boilers?

With over fifty years in the industry, Nationwide Boiler has excelled through similar hurdles. In 1995, we became the first and only rental boiler company to convert our entire fleet of watertube boilers to low NOx levels of 30 ppm. In 2001, we started actively utilizing our CataStak™ SCR system on package watertube rental boilers for ultra low NOx compliance, and in 2011 we developed the product further announcing the ammonia-free / urea-based CataStak™ SCR. These and other initiatives were accomplished with sustainability and environmental improvements in mind.

While our CataStak™ and EconoStak fuel efficiency products help the environment by reducing tons of greenhouse gas emissions, we realize the need to consider an alternate non-fossil fuel with the potential to replace the “transitional” fuel of natural gas. Luckily there are some alternate energy solutions available today, including bio-fuels, hydrogen-fired, solar, hydro, and electric.

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NBI Annual Holiday Food Drives

It’s that time of the year again! Nationwide Boiler’s Annual Holiday Food Drives have officially begun. That’s right, we are holding two separate food drives again this year: a traditional food drive to support the Inter-Faith Treasure House in Washougal, WA and a virtual drive to support the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB) in California. Last year not only did we meet our goals but we exceeded them, and we look forward to two successful drives again this year.

The Inter-Faith Treasure House helps has provided food and assistance to Camas and Washougal residents in need for over 50 years. Our Controls Division, Pacific Combustion Engineering, will be hosting a drive from now until November 20th with a goal of collecting at least 10 full bags of food.

With the belief that food is a basic human right, the ACCFB distributes millions of healthy meals each year to those in need in the California’s Bay Area. Nationwide Boiler’s virtual food drive allows us to “shop” virtually for the organization’s most needed items. Our goal this year is to raise a total of $500 and, if we can meet this goal, Nationwide Boiler will match the donation, dollar-for-dollar!

We understand the importance of giving back to our communities, especially in a time like this. If you would like to help us meet our goal, you can “shop” or donate an amount of your choice, here: https://www.vfd-accfb.org/grouphome.aspx?ID=7521

We are happy to be able to continue this tradition and help provide healthy meals to those less fortunate this holiday season.

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