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Technical Guide

Condensate Recovery System

Steam Traps are essentially valves which differentiate between steam and condensate. They open to discharge condensate, but do not allow steam to escape. A steam trap has three important functions: To remove the condensate formed either within the steam pipework or within the process equipment. To prevent large amounts of steam escaping. To enable any air and other gases in the system to escape.
Figure 2. Ball Float Steam Trap

What is it?

(Image courtesy of Amarinth)

Dearation Tank

Condensate Recovery Systems are specifically designed equipment to recover condensate from steam installations in order to maximise their overall energy efficiency. Condensate Recovery Systems considered to include the following: equipment are

Condensate Recovery Vessels These are designed to handle hot condensate, which is commonly returned for use as boiler feedwater. Steam Traps Are devices which allow the discharge of condensate without the release of steam from steam lines in a steam and condensate system. Deaeration Tanks Remove oxygen and other dissolved gasses from steam boiler feedwater to reduce corrosion and improve efficiency in the steam system.
(Image courtesy of Spirax Sarco)

In a Deaeration Tank boiler feedwater is trickled down over perforated plates, low pressure steam is passed upwards to strip off oxygen and other dissolved gasses. The steam and gas rise to the top of the tank and are then vented to atmosphere. In another type of deaeration tank low pressure steam is injected into the stored feedwater again the steam and gas rise to the top of the tank and are then vented to atmosphere. Depending on the size of the installation the deaeration tank also acts as the feedwater storage tank.
Figure 3. Dearation Tank

Steam Trap
(Image courtesy of Spirax Sarco)

How does it work?

A Condensate Recovery Unit is a Figure 1. Condensate Recovery Unit vessel which receives condensate from all practical points in a process plant or heating system where condensate is produced. The vessel stores the condensate and mixes it with fresh make up water prior to it being used as boiler feedwater.

(Image courtesy of Spirax Sarco) (mage courtesy of Spirax Sarco)

What are the energy saving benefits?

Installing energy efficient technologies on an existing standard steam and condensate installation is a means of improving boiler performance without having to replace the entire steam boiler or system. Typical Energy savings for each of the technologies are listed below: Condensate Recovery Vessels 6 8% reduction in fuel costs Typical payback periods 1 - 4 years Reduced carbon emissions b) c) d)

be passed through a heat exchanger to recover heat energy. Steam Traps a) It is essential to select the correct size and type of trap for both starting and normal operating loads. It is particularly important to size the trap to accommodate the increased condensate capacity at start-up, an incorrectly sized trap may not operate correctly and start-up times are likely to increase. Trap sizing is based upon - normal operational load - (kg/h of condensate) - start-up load - (kg/h of condensate) - Condensate temperature (max/min) - Steam Pressure (max/min) - Back pressure the trap must operate against Consult a reputable manufacturer for specific design and installation information. All types of steam trap fail if they are not properly maintained or protected. The best method for ensuring correct trap operation and efficiency is a planned preventative maintenance programme. Failure monitoring of steam traps notifies user when a steam trap has failed.

Steam Traps 2-3% reduction in fuel costs Typical payback periods 2 - 4 years Shorter start-up times Reduced carbon emissions

Deaeration Tanks 1-2% reduction in fuel costs Typical payback periods 4 - 6 years Reduced risk of corrosion failures Reduced water treatment costs Reduced carbon emissions


Deaeration Tanks a) b) c) Sufficient space has to be available within or near to the boiler house to accommodate the deaeration tank. Deaeration must be used in conjunction with other water treatment measures. Monitoring of the water condition must be carried out regularly, automatically or by sampling.

Issues to consider when choosing a Condensate Recovery System: Condensate Recovery Vessels a) Where very long pipe runs would be required to return condensate to the boiler house, condensate recovery may not be viable in energy terms. Even where long pipe runs make energy recovery uneconomic condensate recovery may still be viable when the water treatment costs and water replacement costs are taken into account. If the condensate can be contaminated by contact with process materials it can cause fouling of the heat transfer surface in the boiler. In such circumstances the condensate should
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