Bring It On Back – Recovering sensible heat from condensate

In this article, I plan to tell you why plants should go after every single drop of condensate produced from the system. And the reason is; It just doesn’t make sense from a financial, environmental or engineering perspective. As boilers produce steam, the steam on its way to the process is cooling and condensate is developing the entire time. If a pound of steam condenses you have a pound of condensate at the same pressure and temperature. An inefficient system may send this condensate down the train. However, facility engineers who are getting the most out of their systems have tapped into this liquid gold long before.

So what’s so special about this condensate? A lot actually for one this condensate has been through the boilers steam process and is essentially like distilled water. This water is the absolute best to use in a steam system as there are no dissolved solids remaining. This in itself is a tremendous benefit to maintaining a clean waterside in the boiler. Another huge factor that condensate brings to the table is the fact that this water is practically at boiling point, so if it were to be recirculated back to the feed system the boiler would have less work (fuel consumption) to heat the water. But let’s first look closer at that this sensible heat. There are numerous opportunities to utilize a heat exchanger in processes where condensate can then be used to heat other mediums that may not require steam heat.

An effectively planned condensate recovery system or well-designed system utilizing the sensible heat from condensate can pay for itself exponentially in a very short time period. Operators and Engineers should make every effort to utilize every bit of heat that is produced from their steam systems and recover this condensate.

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