Plant managers and engineers know that energy is an expensive line item for facility operations. And the costs of natural gas and electricity only continue to rise. That’s why making sure your system operates as efficiently as possible is crucial to maintaining cost-effectiveness. This is where waste heat recovery boilers can add value to your operations.
What is Waste Heat?
Waste heat is the heat generated when any machine or tool operates. Waste heat exists in every application and technology, from computers to car engines, vacuum cleaners, fans, televisions, jackhammers, CNC machines, lighting, and every machine imaginable. This heat is all energy typically dissipated into the environment and lost, hence the name “waste.” In fact, according to the United States Department of Energy Industrial Technologies Program, somewhere between 20 and 50% of industrial energy input is lost as waste heat.
In recent years, governments and businesses alike have dedicated extensive resources to studying and researching waste heat recovery, techniques for harvesting this lost heat and using it to improve energy efficiency. A popular recovery method for industrial settings is the incorporation of a waste heat recovery boiler.
How Does a Waste Heat Recovery Boiler Work?
Heat is lost at numerous points throughout your boiler system like flue gasses, heat loss from pipes, boiler exhaust, and warm air vented from heating rooms. Waste heat recovery boilers use this heat to generate additional steam for industrial applications.
Waste heat recovery boilers operate on the same principle as a typical boiler but take the energy from exhaust gases rather than their burner. The hot exhaust gases come from a process furnace and enter a large chamber. The gases then move over pipes containing cold water, and heat travels to the lower temperature water and increases its temperature until it reaches its boiling point and becomes steam. The cooled waste gas and steam then exit the boiler separately.
The steam travels through pipes distributed throughout your facility to increase the temperature, or it can move turbines to generate electricity. If the heated waste gas does not have enough energy to evaporate all of the water into steam, an auxiliary burner can increase the steam output.
Benefits of a Waste Heat Recovery Boiler
Waste heat recovery boilers offer several benefits for your facility, including:
- Increased Steam Capacity: The first benefit of adding a waste heat recovery boiler is that you will see an increased steam capacity for your facility with the addition of a second boiler.
- Reduced Fuel Consumption: Because much of the energy in this boiler comes from waste gas, the amount of fuel necessary to produce steam will be significantly lower than in a combustion boiler, even if an auxiliary burner is required.
- Reduced Emissions: Without the need for natural gas or biomass for combustion, a waste heat boiler does not add emissions to the system. If an auxiliary burner is required, any additional emissions fall far below the levels of a conventional boiler.
- Reduced Operating Costs: With the minimal energy and fuel consumption of a waste heat recovery boiler, the operating costs associated with this boiler are significantly lower than a conventional boiler.
Is a Waste Heat Recovery Boiler Right for You?
Waste heat boilers come in variable sizes and capacities to match your needs. Gas intakes can handle anywhere from 1,000 to 1 million ft3/minute, adding steam capacity for industries like ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, chemicals, refineries, glass, and any other sector that requires additional steam.
One thing to consider about a waste heat recovery boiler for your facility is that they only generate steam when the process is running. This type of boiler supplements existing boiler systems but does not replace them. While installation costs can be substantial, they cost significantly less to operate without the need for combustion and maintenance from soot blowers, providing a rapid return on investment.
Learn More About Waste Heat Boilers
Industrial Boilers America is a manufacturer with over 20 years of experience developing and installing industrial boilers, heaters, blowers, fans, and auxiliary equipment. One of the ways we are leading the way to zero waste with our waste heat boilers is by situating the equipment above heat-generating equipment to generate steam that can drive electricity-producing generators.
Request a quote today to learn how adding a waste heat recovery boiler can reduce your emissions and save you money.