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.

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