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Steam Trap Failure--Need help with school project

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Posted by Jan Gudell on May 16, 2002 at 13:00:34:

Hi all,

I am a first year graduate student taking a class on pollution prevention strategies. Our semester project is to look at a live case-- a very old steam boiler system at a local high school. Students are asked to select one opportunity for improving (preventing energy losses) the system. The boilers are nearly 50 year old oil-fired low pressure sectional Bigelows, so you can imagine there are many problems with the system. Corrosion, water loss and age are the big factors working against this system.

I decided to look at the premature failure of steam traps as the one problem I want to address.

I'm asking for your help in coming up with some
alternatives for solving the problem of early steam trap failure. Basically the system is fighting an endless battle against corrosion and age.

The idea is to search for a range of creative responses that yield a range of soultions that vary in cost, ease of implementation and effectiveness. We're looking for "low hanging fruit" and "crown jewels."

If you can think of some additional alternatives to my preliminary list, that'd be great.

Remove old system and install circular hydronic hot water system
Seal all leaks
Run system continuously to avoid "cyclical" losses
Flush it more frequently
Install a deaerator
Install a more effective demineralizer
Test water quality more frequently
Install steam trap monitors
Provide additional water chemistry and systems training to boiler room crew
Hire a full-time operations engineer
Provide cleaner water
Give financial bonus to employees who can improve system reliability and effciency
Install higher quality steam traps
Ensure steam traps are properly sized/located
Use alternative chemistry--amines
Take kitchen out of loop to avoid FDA regulations to allow switch of water chemistry
Insulate buildingówalls, doors, cracks
Install high efficiency windows
Take advantage of solar radiation for heating rooms where possible
Explore opportunities for venting air from warmer areas to cooler areas.
Explore opportunities for cogeneration. Can waste heat from kitchen be used to provide additional heat to rooms?
Install best condensate return system
Install economizer

Thanks for your help,

Jan Gudell

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