We specialize in energy systems, power cycle chemistry and water treatment, for any industry. Although utility systems may not be a profit centre, paying attention to your utility systems can yield attractive returns. The US Department of Energy has stated that an energy audit and improvement program for a typical industrial facility can save 20% in steam related costs. In the USA alone, this would save US$4 Billion dollars per year and avoid approximately 32 million tonnes of emissions reduction.
Typical savings that we can help your organization achieve include:
For new assets, utility system detailed design work typically begins last, yet construction must be completed first. Design activity is concentrated within a short time frame, requiring increased staff hours for a short period. This is a key time, as up to 80% of a project's capital expenditure is typically determined at this stage. Significant savings can be realized, by applying specialized experience early in the project phases. At this in the design, DeltaCascade's service provides the highest value.
Water systems are essential to industrial installations, whether it be influent water, boiler water, steam or condensate, cooling water, process water, or wastewater systems. Used as a heating or a cooling agent or as a feed stock, effective design and operation of water systems is likely critical to your operations.
Yet, in most industries, as water related systems are typically not identified as profit centres, water related opportunities for improvement are often overlooked. DeltaCascade can help you identify and quantify undiscovered opportunity for improvement, often of significant proportion.
Process Improvement Services (Operating Facilities)
Sample Water System Opportunities:
Influent Water Systems
Influent water quality and treatment is key to effective, optimal operation of all downstream equipment. Problems and opportunities encountered might include:
Boiler Water Systems
Steam cycle chemistry plays an important role in efficiency and reliability of boiler systems, as well as steam and condensate systems. If boiler tube failures are interrupting your production or extending your planned shutdown periods, you may benefit from a boiler water system audit. Your problem may be as simple as oxygen saturated water contamination of condensate causing corrosion, and subsequent deposition of iron deposits on boiler tubes. The insulating iron deposits lead to tube overheat and failure.
One facility was found to be using a low pressure boiler water treatment product for a higher pressure boiler with a steam super-heater and steam turbine which required high purity steam. Super-heater tube failure frequency was increasing. The treatment product contained phosphate treatment chemical in potassium, rather than the anticipated sodium, form. Steam purity studies using standard sodium electrode procedure indicated acceptable steam purity. Analysing for potassium, and then modifying the boiler water treatment program to use sodium based phosphate treatment, enabled a corrosive steam solids contamination to be identified and controlled through improved boiler water level control.
Cooling Water Systems
Evaporative cooling towers, while efficient heat sinks, and effective water conservers compared to once through cooling, may be the largest water consumer and wastewater generator at your site. While cooling systems are often designed to operate at about 8 cycles of concentration (12.5% blow-down), they can very often effectively operate at 12 cycles (8% blow-down) or higher. This reduces raw water demand by over 4% and reduces wastewater production rate by approximately one third. It may also reduce chemical treatment program costs. In addition, cooling water systems present excellent opportunity for integration of processes to enable water recycle and re-use. Treated sanitary waste water, a controlled amount of boiler blow down water, some demin plant waste waters, and other streams, may be used as cooling system make-up water, reducing raw water demand and wastewater production.
Cooling water flow mal-distribution is a common problem at industrial facilities. Numerous heat exchangers and piping networks typically exist between cooling water supply and return headers. Hence, flow restrictions at certain exchangers cannot typically be determined by monitoring pressure drop. Flow restrictions may be difficult to identify unless equipment has a high level of instrumentation. Equipment near the end of cooling water headers are particularly prone to becoming clogged with debris, as the debris has more difficulty taking corners, than following to the end of the pipe. Cooling towers are essentially big air washers, so that small bore tube exchangers may become clogged following wind storms, and remain clogged with seeds, fluff, dirt and debris, with elevated fouling and corrosion rates, until serviced. Resulting cooling water flow reduction reduces heat exchange rates. More seriously, the accompanying low water velocity insidiously contributes to heat exchange surface fouling and under-deposit corrosion. Corrosion products contaminate the entire system, compromising both corrosion control and scale control performance throughout the entire plant. A cooling water flow survey with portable ultrasonic flow meter can be helpful to identify problem areas for correction. Hydraulic analysis of the entire cooling water system piping network, particularly prior to system piping modifications or expansions, can help avoid problems of system fouling, under-deposit corrosion and heat transfer related production bottlenecks. When designing side-stream filters, it may be prudent to have the filter feed water take-off from the re-circulating cooling water at the outside of any available pipe bends, to enhance capture of debris by the filters for the life of the plant.
Minimization of waste water production is a primary opportunity for improving wastewater systems performance. Optimising influent water treatment systems, and taking advantage of water re-use and recycle and other process integration opportunities, can pay significant benefit.
In addition to waste water process audit in itself, quality control of water feeding the waste treatment process presents another significant opportunity. Eliminating slugs of impurities through process integration and, or, quality control programs can be highly effective.
Contact us if we can help with your water system questions, or participate with you in problem solving and process improvement work.