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IMA Energy & Environment Blog

Measurement Solutions to Optimize Steam Production & Power Generation

Magnetrol is an IMA member manufacturer…

A considerable amount of resources are allocated to the production of steam and electricity in the chemical process industry. Research shows that minor performance improvements in either of the two areas will have a significant impact on product quality, cost and ultimately a company’s ability to effectively compete in the global arena.

Regardless of the source of steam for your facility (e.g., packaged boiler, coal or gas-fired plant, combine cycle plant, etc.) or its end use (heating and/or power generation) eliminating the measurement variables associated with more traditional technologies used for boiler or steam drum level control is a solid first step it optimizing the production and quality of steam for a given amount of fuel. U.S. Department of Energy surveys show the boiler as the keystone to optimizing steam production for profit.

This concept of reducing the avenues for error, whether process or calibration related, in the level measurement equation translates extremely well to other critical applications throughout the cogeneration and corresponding condensate recovery processes. For example, leveraging advanced level measurement technologies is a simple and inexpensive method of ensuring proper management of DA level to improve the deaeration process; so is maximizing efficiency of shell and tube heat exchangers used to pre-heating boiler feed and make-up water, or maintaining appropriate level in blowdown and flash (receiver) tanks. Of course, there are maintenance benefits that go hand-in-hand with these performance enhancements.

Level Measurement Challenges and Considerations

The challenges facing any level measurement technology in a cogeneration facility are usually associated with the aggressive nature of steam and vulnerability to process dynamics including pressure, temperature, vacuum and specific gravity. If left unattended, these seemingly subtle limitations have a profound impact on the bottom line.

 

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