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Deaeration process

Deaeration is the process of removal of oxygen, Carbon dioxide and other non
condensable gases from boiler feed water thereby reducing the risk of corrosion in
the pressure parts of the boiler.
Deaeration of two types namely Mechanical Deaeration and Chemical
Mechanical deaeration works on the principle of Henrys law of
physics. Removal of oxygen, carbon dioxide and other non-condensable gases from
boiler feed water is vital to boiler equipment longevity as well as safety of operation.
The deaerator capacity rating shall exceed the capacity of the steam system it is
servicing and have a minimum of 10 minutes storage capacity to the overflow. The
deaerator shall be designed for oxygen removal to 0.005 cc/l (7 ppb) or less and
carbon dioxide removal to a zero measurable level in the effluent throughout all load
conditions between 0% and 100% of rated capacity.
Deaeration is the removal of dissolved or entrained gases from water to be used as
boiler feed or for other processes. The gases of concern to steam plant operators are
usually oxygen and carbon dioxide which are present in water due to natural cases.
Oxygen and carbon dioxide present in untreated water cause corrosion of the usual
boiler and steam plant materials. The rate of the corrosive action is proportional to
the amount of the gas present in the feed water and is accelerated by high
Working principle of Deaerator
The primary purpose of deaeration is to remove the dissolved oxygen and carbon
dioxide from water to such low levels that their corrosive potential with regard to
carbon and low alloy steel is eliminated under the temperature and pressure
conditions prevailing in steam generation and transport equipment. The economic
value of being able to use steel, rather than higher alloy,
A deaerator is a device that is widely used for the removal of oxygen and other
dissolved / non condensable gases from the feed water to steam-generating boilers.
Inparticular, dissolved oxygen in boiler feed waters will cause serious corrosion
damage in steam systems by attaching to the walls of metal piping and other metallic
equipment and forming oxides (rust). Water also combines with any dissolved
carbon dioxide to form carbonic acid that causes further corrosion. Most deaerators
are designed to remove oxygen down to levels of 7 ppb by weight (0.005 cm/L) or
Methods of Deaeration
Deaeration of water can be achieved by chemical and/or mechanical means. Various
chemicals are available which react with the oxygen in water to produce chemical
forms that are not harmful to the steam system. Likewise, there are chemicals that

can be added to the water to react with carbon dioxide and transform it into neutral
forms of the substance.
Non-chemical (mechanical) methods of deaeration remove, rather than transform,
the oxygen and carbon dioxide present in the water supply. Mechanical deaeration
devices function by reversing the mechanism by which the gases initially go into
solution with water.
Mechanical O2 removal:
Removal of dissolved oxygen to very low limits, not exceeding 7 ppb, is possible by
deaeration only. According to common boiler standards, lower concentrations than 7
ppb are usually not relevant for operation.
Mechanical CO2 removal:
In general, mechanical deaeration can remove all free CO2 to a non-detectable level.
Dependent on actual pH value of the condensate, chemically bound CO2, which
cannot be completely removed by mechanical deaeration, may be present in the
water. However, since the level of CO2 present in treated water seldom exceeds 5
ppm, no further discussion of CO2 removal will be addressed in this bulletin and the
remainder of this paper will address only oxygen removal via the deaerator
There are two basic types of deaerators, the tray-type and the spray-type
The tray-type (also called the cascade-type) includes a vertical domed deaeration
section mounted on top of a horizontal cylindrical vessel which serves as the
deaerated boiler feed water storage tank our deaerator is a tray type deaerator.Tray
type deaerators are generally considered the superior choice for most
applications.These units use stainless steel for all internal surfaces which come in
contact with un-deaerated water. Residence time for non deaerated water inside a
tray type deaerator is longer, providing more efficient deaeration, particularly where
wide load swings occur. A Large diameter hinged door affords easy access to internal
trays and spray tubes for maintenance and replacement. Although tray type
deaerators require a larger initial investment, the benefits in efficiency and reduced
cost of maintenance tend to pay for themselves quickly
The spray-type consists only of a horizontal (or vertical) cylindrical vessel which
serves as both the deaeration section and the boiler feed water storage tank.
Mechanical Deaeration
Mechanical Deaeration for the removal of these dissolved gases is typically utilized
prior to the addition of chemical oxygen scavengers. Mechanical Deaeration can be
the most economical. They operate at the boiling point of water at the pressure in
the deaerator.
They can be of pressure type deaerator or vacuum type deaerator.
The pressure-type deaerator

Operates by allowing steam into the feed water through a pressure control valve to
maintain the desired operating pressure, and hence temperature at a minimum of
105 C. The steam raises the water temperature causing the release of O2 and CO2
gases that are then vented from the system. This type can reduce the oxygen content
to 0.005 mg/liter.
The vacuum type of deaerator
Operates below atmospheric pressure, at about 82 C, can reduce the oxygen content
in water to less than 0.02 mg/liter. Vacuum pumps or steam ejectors are required to
maintain the vacuum.
Theory of Mechanical Oxygen Removal
Oxygen is soluble in water in proportion to the partial pressure of the gas that is
acting when it contacts the water (Henrys Law). The normal source of oxygen in
water is the atmosphere which is 21% oxygen and contributes about 3 psi to the
normal atmospheric pressure of 14.7 psi. At 60F, water in contact with the
atmosphere will pick up about 10 ppm of O2. The solubility of oxygen in water
decreases as the water temperature increases. As the water temperature increases,
the amount of water vapor present in the atmosphere above the liquid also increases.
This double effect means that less O2 can be held by water as its temperature is
increased, theoretically being zero when the water it reaches its boiling point
As a consequence of these physical characteristics, oxygen can be removed from
water (or better,
the amount of O2 that the water can hold can be reduced) by raising the temperature
and reducing
the concentration of O2 in the atmosphere above the water

Why deaerate boiler feedwater?

There are many advantages to deaerating water prior to boiler input, but they all boil
down to reduced cost operation.
Water is heated during deaeration to near the temperature of the boiler water,
thus minimizing the risk of thermal shock damage to a high-value boiler system.
Recycling of steam from vents and flash steam from traps that would
otherwise be vented to the atmosphere can result in appreciable energy savings.
Mechanical deaeration of a feed water deaerator can cut the amount of
chemical consumables (hydrazine) used for water conditioning for a continuing
operating cost saving
Removal of oxygen and carbon dioxide reduces corrosion within the boiler and
piping,extending the life expectancy of the system and reducing maintenance cost.
Higher temperature feed water reduces the chance of pressure drop within the
boiler which can occur when cold water is added.
The deaerating process removes dissolved / no condensable gases (oxygen and
carbon dioxide) which tend to act as insulators inhibiting the transfer of heat within
the boiler.

Corrosion in boiler systems is a major cause of equipment damage or failure,

often resulting in expensive, unscheduled downtime and/or excessive maintenance.
Dissolved oxygen is the principal cause of corrosion, so removal of oxygen by
deaeration is of prime importance to those who operate and maintain boiler
systems. Both mechanical and chemical methods of deaeration are necessary to
provide protection against oxygen corrosion in modern steam plants.
The mechanical deaeration process is done in a feedwater heater, which also
removes certain amounts of other corrosive gases, such as ammonia and carbon
In addition to dissolved oxygen, low pH is also a major contributing factor to
corrosion in boiler feed lines, closed heaters, economizers, and boilers.
The main purpose of chemical deaeration is to remove any oxygen remaining after
mechanical deaeration. It also provides a means of monitoring the efficiency of
mechanical deaeration.
Corrosion of copper and brass equipment can occur when ammonia is present in
sufficient concentration in the condensate.
With a properly designed and controlled boiler water treatment program, low pH
corrosion does not normally occur in these portions of the system. In the returncondensate portion of the system, however, the combination of oxygen and low pH due to the carbonic acid that forms when carbon dioxide is present in the steam - is
more corrosive than an equivalent concentration of either gas alone.
Effectiveness and Efficiency of Deaerators
The technical efficiency and effectiveness of a deaerator is measured upon:
1. Economic efficiency. Additionally, the economic efficiency of a deaerator
must be evaluated considering the operating and replacement costs. This is a
function of maintenance cost and frequency, equipment lifetime and initial
equipment price. A component of the operating costs is the cost of chemicals needed
to reach the desired performance. The economic impact of ineffective mechanical
deaeration can be evaluated as the incremental operating cost associated with the
additional chemical feed requirements.
Technical effectiveness of a deaerator is measured by the amount of
oxygen in the feedwater at the outlet of the storage tank, compared to the amount at
the inlet, showing the ability to remove dissolved oxygen. Obviously, a 7 ppb design
is more effective than a 20 ppb unit.
Thermal efficiency of a deaerator can be measured by the amount of vent
steam loss. Allmodern deaerators are highly thermally efficient with the only heat
loss being that which leaves the vent with the non-condensable gases and losses
through the insulation, the latter not being a function of the deaerator design. With
regard to the vent, the heat loss may represent a large number of heat units (Btus,
kcals) but is usually a small portion of the heat input. The cost of the vent heat loss
can be seen as an incremental operating cost.