Boilers & Steamlines
Chemical Water Treatment for Boilers & Steamline Applications
This post will review the basics of chemical water treatment for boilers and streamline applications. It will also consider how to increase efficiency in equipment by using chemical water treatment. For more information on chemical water treatment for other applications, revisit our Education Center.
Treating water chemically is a required process in a variety of boiler applications. Boilers heat water to make steam. Steam may be used as power in a process, sterilization, humidification and for heating purposes. Naturally occurring impurities in water may lead to scale or sludge deposits in boilers. As pure water is evaporated from steam boiler systems, impurities remain and become concentrated which increase the potential for scale and sludge deposits. As scale and sludge deposits form, they begin to obstruct heat transfer which leads to higher energy costs, which can lead to loss of equipment operation and early failure. Treating the water maximizes the waters' potential and helps to control the negative effects it can have on boilers and steamlines.
Impacts of Scale Forming Deposits on Efficiency
Even with softened water used for the feed supply, boiler systems can still experience significant scale build-up. The presence of phosphate, sulfate and iron must be managed and mitigated to prevent corrosive deposits, especially in low-flow areas of the boiler unit. Buildup of minerals and corrosives in boiler tubing and steamlines directly impacts boiler efficiency, as these additional particles impact heat transfer and overall temperature control. Just a few degrees of heat of change due to scaling and particle buildup can lead to 1% decrease in boiler efficiency. This increases operational expense for owners short term, as well as high asset stress that can lead to early equipment replacement in the long term.
Even with a well calibrated chemical water treatment plan, cycles of concentration (COC) will eventually outpace the effects of the chemicals. Blowdown, or periodic release of some of the system water to be replenished by freshwater, is required to manage the rate at which the issues occur. Allowing scale to accumulate not only reduces the flow through a pipe or chamber for some applications, but also interferes with temperature control. This leads to a need for more blowdown and fewer cycles of use before water needs to be replenished.
Chemical Water Treatment Plan Optimization
Typically, when a chemical water treatment plan is newly optimized, operators will see improvements in boiler efficiency quickly. Using chemical water treatment solutions is not only important for cost savings and efficiency, but also is important for safety. Boilers operate at high temperatures and high pressures, and asset malfunction can lead to serious injury. Additionally, as the chemicals used for treatment are also highly toxic, chemicals must be handled safely by water treatment professionals. The chemicals chosen for treatment must meet specific conditions as defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when used by food, drug, and cosmetic providers.
There are multiple chemical options for boilers and steamline treatment. Historically, chemical was often delivered to a treatment room pre-mixed in large 55 gallon drums. However, this created great risk of chemical exposure to technicians, high logistics costs in transporting full drums, required excessive floor space for storage, and necessitates drum cleaning and careful removal when chemicals need restocking.
Today, water treatment is now more safe and efficient thanks to ultra concentrated liquid chemical water treatment options. Similarly to the revolution that the laundry detergent industry faced, ultra concentrated water treatment options allow for smaller containers, less water wasted in pre-mixing, and more efficient use of chemical.
To learn more about LiquiLogic ultra concentrated liquid chemical water treatment products for boiler and steamline applications, visit the Products page.