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"Greening" Industrial Steam Generation via On-demand Steam Systems
Both recent economic and environmental conditions in the U.S. have converged to bring about unprecedented attention to energy efficiency and sustainability in the country's industrial sector. Historically, energy costs in the U.S. have been low in comparison to global averages in some measure do to an extended tolerance for externalized costs related to environmental degradation. Consequently, awareness, innovation & implementation of technologies focused on energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact have not kept pace with other industrialized nations. The U.S. is confronted with looming tipping points with respect to energy supply and GHG emissions that represent very tangible constraints on future economic growth and quality of life. A recent 2008 article in Forbes Magazine highlights the top ten most energy efficient economies in the world. The U.S. is conspicuously absent from the list. The U.S. economy, with an estimated energy intensity of 9,000 Btu's/$GDP, is only half as energy efficient as Japan (holding the top spot on the list with an EI of 4,500 Btu's / US$ GDP). The U.S. Department of Energy has initiated the Save Energy Now program to address this by supporting reductions in U.S. industrial energy intensity by 25% by 2020. A recent 2005 survey conducted by Energy & Environmental Analysis, Inc. (EEA) for Oak Ridge National Laboratory indicates that the current U.S. inventory of commercial/industrial boilers stands at around 163,000 units and 2.7 million MMBtu/hr. total fuel input capacity. These boilers consume nearly 8,100 Tbtu per year, representing about 40% of all energy consumed in the commercial/industrial sectors. Moreover, this same survey indicates that 47% of all commercial/industrial boilers in the U.S. are 40+ years old while as many as 76% are 30+ years old. Boilers account for nearly half of commercial / industrial energy consumption and represent some of the most energy intensive systems comprising these sectors. Given the preponderance of aged, obsolete boiler technology currently in service in the U.S., it is critical to raise awareness and examine the role of emerging new technologies to address the energy and environmental challenges inherent with steam generation. In the same way that tank-less / instantaneous water heating systems are eschewing a new era in energy efficiency in the residential sector, compact modular on-demand steam generation systems are poised to support the same kind of transformation in the commercial / industrial sector. This paper will illustrate how emerging on-demand steam generation technologies will play a part in addressing the energy and environmental challenges facing the country's commercial/ industrial sectors and in doing so help to transform the U.S. economy.
SubjectEnergy Efficient Economies
Tank-less/Instantaneous Water Heating Systems
On-Demand Steam Generation Technologies
Smith, J. P. (2010). "Greening" Industrial Steam Generation via On-demand Steam Systems. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from