NOTE: Restrictions are in place to limit access to one or more of the files associated with this item. Authorized users must log in to gain access. Non-authorized users do not have access to these files.
Visit the Energy Systems Laboratory Homepage.
Steam Basics: Use Available Data to Lower Steam System Cost
Industrial steam users recognize the need to reduce system cost in order to remain internationally competitive. Steam systems are a key utility that influence cost significantly, and represent a high value opportunity target. However, the quality of steam is often taken for granted, even overlooked at times. When the recent global recession challenged companies to remain profitable as a first priority, the result was that maintenance budgets were cut and long term cost reduction initiatives for steam systems set aside due to more pressing issues. One of the regrettable results of such actions is that knowledgeable personnel are re-assigned, retired, or released when necessary steam system cost reduction programs are eliminated. When the time arrives to refocus on long term cost reduction by improving the steam system, some programs may have to start from the beginning and a clear path forward may not be evident. New personnel are often tasked with steam improvements when the programs restart, and they may experience difficulty in determining the true key factors that can help reduce system cost. The urgency for lowering long term fuel use and reducing the cost of producing steam is near for each plant. Population growth and resultant global demand are inevitable, so the global economy will expand, production will increase, more fossil fuel energy will be needed, and that fuel will become scarce and more costly. Although fuel prices are low now, energy costs can be expected to trend significantly upward as global production and demand increase. Now is the time for plants to make certain that they can deliver high quality steam to process equipment at lowest system cost. There are three stages to help optimize plant steam for best performance at a low system cost; Phase 1: Manage the condensate discharge locations (where the steam traps & valves are located), Phase 2: Optimize steam-using equipment, and Phase 3: Optimize the entire steam system. This presentation will focus primarily on management of the condensate discharge locations (CDLs) and show sites how to use readily available data to more efficiently achieve goals; but will also provide insight into how the three stages interact to reduce system cost and improve process performance.
Risko, J. R. (2011). Steam Basics: Use Available Data to Lower Steam System Cost. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from