Tuesday, December 30, 2008

IDEA Hosts Campus Energy Conference On Feb. 10-13

The International District Energy Association (IDEA) will present “Today’s Solution for Tomorrow’s Climate Challenges” as part of its 22nd Annual Campus Energy Conference on Feb. 10-13 in Durham, North Carolina.

While many campuses are currently facing budget cuts, declining endowments, and energy price volatility, the conference brings together hundreds of energy professionals to share real-world, practical insights on the most efficient and reliable campus energy systems in the world. By implementing some of these solutions, many campus utility directors, facility professionals, energy managers, and sustainability coordinators have an opportunity to capture energy savings through efficiency gains.

22nd Annual Campus Energy Conference Topics:

• Developing utility master plan processes from budget to completion
• Evaluating fuel flexible solutions while managing operating risk
• Assessing the utility master plan impact on Campus Carbon Footprint
• Evaluating technologies to reduce operating costs, cut emissions, and enhance reliability
• Finding federal and state funding resources to support project evaluation, design, and deployment

The conference will be held in conjunction with the Annual IDEA Distribution Workshop on Feb. 9-10. The workshop will feature panel discussions and training on safety, engineering, and maintenance of thermal distribution systems.

IDEA is a leading association dedicated to advancing global environmental quality through efficient district energy with more than 900 members worldwide. Benz Air Engineering is supporting the conference as an exhibitor. Benz Air has delivered patented engineering solutions that optimize efficiency and minimize emissions at several campuses, including the University of Texas at Austin.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Recognizing Heat As Energy Can Save Fuel

While most manufacturing operators understand that heat can be recovered from steam boiler blowdown to increase boiler efficiency and reduce fuel consumption, not every operator has considered the significant cost savings. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) EERE released Steam Tip Sheet #10 to help manufacturers do exactly that.

The tip sheet estimates that a plant — where an 80 percent efficient produces 50,000 pounds per hour (lb/hr) of 150 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) steam, increasing its efficiency to 90 percent with a heat recovery system — could save $68,000 per year (assuming the 2006 fuel cost of $8.00 per million Btu). Benz Air Engineering solutions perform even better.

Case Study: A Condensing Heat Exchanger In Action

After evaluating the boilers at Del Monte Fruit Processing and Packaging Facility in Modesto, California, Benz Air Engineering recommended several improvements to two boilers that were operating at about 82 percent efficiency. One of these recommendations included the installation of a CondiMax Condensing Heat Exchanger, which converts previously wasted heat into energy.

The installation resulted in increased efficiency much higher than the DOE tip sheet. In fact, the heat exchanger reduced stack temperature to less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit while increasing boiler efficiency to greater than 94 percent. The installation also resulted in an energy efficiency rebate, which meant an immediate payback for the plant.

In November, Del Monte also received an award for its energy efficiency management program and sustainability efforts at its Modesto facility during the CMTA/Industrial Environmental Association/Chemical Industry Coalition of California’s Annual Environmental Summit. The two retrofitted boilers were highlighted for their ability to significantly reduce fuel consumption, NOx output, and wasted steam through recycling.

Del Monte Foods is one of the country's largest and most well known producers, distributors and marketers of premium quality, branded food and pet products for the U.S. retail market, generating more than $3.4 billion in net sales in fiscal 2007.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

RGGI Hopes To Become National Cap-and-Trade Model

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) will hold its second CO2 allowance auction on Dec. 17. Earlier this year, RGGI became the first mandatory, market-based CO2 emissions reduction program in the United States.

RGGI was designed to be a cooperative effort of ten northeast and mid-Atlantic states, including: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It capped emissions for 233 plants by putting a price on the carbon dioxide they emit.

How The RGGI Cap-and-Trade System Works

• Establishing a multi-state CO2 emissions budget (cap) that will decrease gradually until it is 10 percent lower than at the start
• Requiring electric power generators to hold allowances covering their emissions of CO2
• Providing a market-based emissions auction and trading system where electric power generators can buy, sell and trade CO2 emissions allowances
• Using the proceeds of allowance auctions to support low-carbon-intensity solutions, including energy efficiency and clean renewable energy, such as solar and wind power
• Employing offsets (greenhouse gas emissions reduction or sequestration projects at sources beyond the electricity sector) to help companies meet their compliance obligations

The market opened in September as part of a $1.1 billion pilot project. RGGI hoped the success of the program may serve as a nationwide model to stem global warming. While it is clear President-Elect Barrack Obama has committed to a national cap-and-trade system, it remains unclear whether such a national system would model RGGI or incorporate other state efforts, such as AB-32 in California.

In the first auction, a total of 44 entities won allowances and the bid prices
ranged from $1.86 (the minimum bid allowed) to $12.00. A post settlement of the first auction is available here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

An Engineering Abstract for San Joaquin Valley Boilers

Looking out over the quiet rolling hills, it almost seems pastoral in the San Joaquin Valley these days. Many of the processing boilers have been shut down and laid up for the season.

But while some people are hibernating, I know the best boiler operators are taking action and caring for their equipment, demonstrating what I can only call a deep affection for detail.

Some of them have to, but many of them just think like me. A 180 mmBTU/hr boiler is more than just a piece of equipment and it never gets the appreciation it deserves.

You see, when most people look at a boiler, they only see some big piece of equipment. They think it costs too much to feed. They complain that it's never quiet, operating every minute of the season. They blame it for arguments because no one ever seems to agree how hard it should work. And lately, everybody says that it pollutes the air too much.

As an engineer, I think about boilers differently. Sometimes, I even ask myself what a boiler might dream about if a boiler could have dreams. Seriously.

I think a boiler might dream about NOx control and boiler efficiency. Or maybe it might dream about acquiring super powers like those super boilers at the University of Texas. Or maybe it would dream about making a transformation during the winter months, allowing it to do anything everyone wants — more steam, even more steam, not so much steam, and so on — all within seconds. Or maybe about using 12 percent less fuel. Or maybe reducing emissions.

Anthropomorphic excursions aside, most boilers need retrofits to become super boilers.

They have to. As NOx regulations reach the strictest possible level and energy costs continue to rise, the only solutions are to take advantage of the energy efficiency incentives available right now and retrofit these boilers well ahead of schedule for immediate cost savings and a faster payback.

In fact, with the right team, the payback on investment is remarkably short — sometimes as little as two years or less. Now you don't have to be an engineer or a boiler operator to appreciate that. But if you're still not sure, then subscribe to some of the case studies and solutions we'll be sharing in the weeks and months ahead.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

University of California, San Diego Benefits From Compu-NOx

When the University of California, San Diego needed to meet the San Diego Air Pollution District's emission limit of 30 parts per million (ppm) NOx for three identical Erie City "O" type boilers equipped with Erie Ring Burners with 40 hp blowers, it received bids from seven companies.

Benz Air Engineering delivered a winning retrofit bid that was $750,000 less than all other bids, bids which would have required replacing those burners with less efficient Low NOx burners. By awarding the bid to Benz Air Engineering, the Compu-NOx solution reduced fuel consumption as well as NOx and CO emissions with a lower investment. Here's how the Compu-NOx retrofit solution stacked up:

Before Retrofit
Turndown: 3:1
NOx at Full Load: 80 ppm at 3 percent O2
CO at Full Load: 100 ppm at 3 percent O2
O2 at Full Load: 3.5 percent
Horsepower: 30hp

After Retrofit
Turndown: 20:1
NOx at Full Load: 16 ppm at 3 percent O2
CO at Full Load: 10 ppm at 3 percent O2
O2 at Full Load: 0.9 percent
Horsepower: 10hp

The Compu-NOx solution delivered an annual fuel savings of $58,000 per year and an annual electrical savings of $40,000 per year at the time of the retrofit. With the rising costs of fuel, the annual cost savings is now considerably more.

Since, the University of California, San Diego became the first campus on the West Coast to join the Chicago Climate Exchange to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. It was also the first university in California to have been recognized by the California Climate Action Registry as a "Climate Action Leader."

UC San Diego's goal is to become a living laboratory for climate solutions by being an early adopter of real-world tools and leading-edge technologies for San Diego and the global marketplace for successfully measuring, certifying and reporting its greenhouse gas emissions to the Registry and the public. For more information about its sustainability programs, visit here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

California AB 32 Scoping Plan Moves Forward

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will meet on Nov. 20 to discuss the AB 32 Scoping Plan as mandated by the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The Nov. 20 meeting includes one of the first opportunities for public testimony.

The effort aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, which equates to an approximate emission reduction of 30 percent, and then an 80 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2050. Governor Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law in September 2006. Key elements include:

• Expanding and strengthening existing energy efficiency programs and building and appliance standards;
• Obtaining 33 percent of California's electricity from renewables;
• Developing a California cap-and-trade program that links with other Western Climate Initiative partner programs to create a regional market system;
• Establishing targets for transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions for regions throughout California, and pursuing policies and incentives to achieve those targets;
• Adopting and implementing measures pursuant to existing state laws and policies, including California's clean car standards, goods movement measures, and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard; and
• Creating targeted fees, including a public goods charge on water use, fees on high global warming potential gases, and a fee to fund the administrative costs of the state's long-term commitment to AB 32 implementation.

Additional strategies for making these reductions are outlined in the Climate Change Proposed Scoping Plan. The next public meeting will begin on Dec. 11. More information regarding the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board as it pertains to AB 32 can be found here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Benz Air Produces WEEC White Paper

On Nov. 4-5, at the same time Benz Air Engineering was developing The Bolier Room, Patricia Spiritus submitted a white paper for consideration at the World Energy Engineering Congress (WEEC) in Washington D.C. The white paper, entitled "Optimize Boiler Efficiency and Reduce NOx, CO, and CO2 with ROI," was well received.

WEEC is attended each year by the nation's leading energy professionals in business, industry, and government who seek the best solutions for all aspects of today's energy cost and supply challenges.

The Overview

Industrial steam boilers are used in power-generating facilities, food processing plants, universities, refineries, and hospitals (among other facilities). In addition to being unmatched in design, engineering, and craftsmanship, they represent the foundation for the industrial revolution and hold a unique opportunity for companies that rely on the steam they produce.

The engineers who produced them achieved their mission to create a reliable steam system that not only produced energy, but also produced it effectively enough that it provides hot water to dorm rooms at universities, packs fruit cocktails for grocery stores, or gives a rug its bright blue color. Without question, steam boilers are responsible for much of what makes up our world today.

Unfortunately, they are also responsible for contributing to greenhouse gases (NOx & CO), carbon footprint (CO2), and consuming large quantities of electricity and other fuel.

The Solution

There are several methods and technologies currently used to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from steam boilers, many of which emerged after the passage of the Clean Air Act of 1990. However, by approaching reliable steam boilers from three approaches — mechanical engineering, combustion engineering, and programming — retrofitted steam boilers can dramatically increase efficiency (which reduces fuel consumption) while reducing emissions (which meets pending regulation).

How much? The white paper, using a real case study, estimates that retrofitting 15,000 steam boilers in the United States with all three approaches mentioned above would equate to the following emission reduction comparisons:

• The emissions generated by 7,725,000 passenger cars in one year
• The emissions produced by 4,590,000 households' electrical usage
• The emissions reduced by recycling 12,015,000 tons of waste put in landfills
• The prevention of 300,000 acres of natural areas preserved from deforestation

These retrofits would also reduce as much as 35,700,000 metric tons of CO2. Assuming natural gas systems account for 25 percent of such retrofits, that would account for a reduction of 5.5 percent of the total CO2 emissions in the United States.

The white paper is available upon request and will be posted as an informational resource in the near future.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An Introduction To The Boiler Room

The Boiler Room is the Benz Air Engineering blog and information center, developed to help manufacturers, industrial plants, boiler operators, legislators, policy makers, and other interested parties stay ahead of the rapidly changing landscape. It is written and maintained by Robert Benz, Patricia Spiritus, Marcel Staedter, and support staff.

Benz Air Engineering matches the right solutions, systems, and technologies to improve the energy consumption of exiting steam, heat, and power systems. For more than 50 years, it has delivered the best available technology to save money, improve efficiency, and reduce emissions.

By evaluating existing steam, heat, and power systems, Benz Air Engineering can determine which solutions will deliver the maximum cost savings. Increasing boiler efficiency, retrofitting boilers, and installing new systems can save millions of dollars in fuel consumption and electrical usage. Many Benz Air solutions also qualify for rebates and incentives.