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Steam System Improvement: A Case Study
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The industrial sector consumes the largest share of the world's energy. The pulp and paper industry is one of the five most energy-intensive industries in the world. Therefore, optimum energy efficiency plays a pivotal role in the profitability of this sector. Also, energy cost accounts for a significant share in production cost in pulp and paper industries. This paper highlights the findings of a study done on the steam system of a paper mill (covering steam generation, steam distribution and steam usage) where steam generation accounts for 85% of the total energy used. Therefore, optimization of the steam system has the biggest energy saving potential. This paper mill produces 40,000 pounds of steam at 600 psig and distributes it to the paper-making process at various pressure levels. This New England paper mill spends approximately $1.9 million every year on its steam system. The study identified an opportunity to save the plant steam costs in the amount of 12%. Among the identified saving measures, there are some measures that can be done through better maintenance and improvement of operating conditions. The average payback period to implement the identified saving measures is 12 months. In addition to this, upon the implementation of the proposed measures, the paper mill can reduce its carbon emissions in the amount of 500 tons per year and thus, can help save the environment as well.
Leigh, N.; Venkatesan, V. V. (1999). Steam System Improvement: A Case Study. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu). Available electronically from