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Boiler Efficiency and Safety

A Guide for Managers, Engineers

and Operators responsible for

Small Steam Boilers

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Edited by

W. S. Robertson

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i Contributors

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H. 14* Asi¡lo¡l

G. Datschefski

A. J. R. Isaacs

C.

S. Macdonald

W.

S. Robertson

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K. C. Saiooja

E. G. White ,,.

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@ Esso Pet¡oleum Company, ümited 1981

A11 rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted,

in any form or by any means, without permission.

First published 198 I.by

THE MACMILLAN PRESS LTD

London and Basingstoke Associated companies in Delhi Dublin

Hong Kong Jóhannesburg Lagos Melboume New York Singapore and Tokyo

Tlpeset in 10/ 12 Press Roman by

STYLESET LIMiTED

Salisbury' lliltshire

aizd printed in Great Brítaift by

J. W. ArTowsmith Ltd., Bristol BSS 2NT

trSBN,0, 333 27916 9

This book is sold subject to the s.tandard conditions of the Net Book Agreement.

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Safety

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2 Types and selection of fuel oils

3 Coibustion processes and monitoring

4 Combustion in practice

5 Wate¡ treatment

6 Bo*cr.¡i*e¡atism.

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Maintenance

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8 Efficient use of steam

9 Training courses and mate¡ial

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Index

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6

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39

71

109

121

137

Preface

'-¿nd money'-savings in one

specific area'. for package steam boilers of up to

authors know its content achieves savings - they have achieved them in their

own organisation.

The book is written principally for managers responsible for automatic steam

boilers, and for supervrsors and operators who run them. It gives managers the

background data that they need to ensure their equipment is operated at maxi- mum efficiericy. It also gives operators the tlasic infcrrmation they need to carry out efficient boiler operation. The book is not primarily intended for professionai

engineers: they are likely to know it all already, although some may appreciate a

about 10 MV/ output. The

This book coveus pract.lcal step$ to

achieve.fuel

reminde¡ of a few basic points. The content of the book springs from a programme on boiler efficiency and safety introduced in Esso Pet¡o1eum Company marketing plants. That programme

for plant managers and for operators saved f60 000 in fuel costs in its first year. The B*iis; [,fíujaii{'/ a*d, fiafet-.r .Training progremme wa¡ iate¡. made generally:.

¿v3ita¡le:c inciustr;'as an audio-üsual presentation on íilmstrip/tape anci on

video.

However, since audioüsual techliques are not always applicabie, this book has been written, mainly by those invoived in the original programme, to expand

on the information in the programme and to make it more wideiy available.

The book begins with a discussion of vital safety factors. lt then briefly covers the types and selection of oil fueis. Although the book as a whole uses

oil-fired boile¡s as exampies, only chapter 2 on types and selection is exclusively

concerned with oil fuel - much of the remainder applies equally to gas firing and, to a lesser extent, to solid-fuel firing. The book deals in some detail with the theory and practice ol combustion and of water treatment. This is followed by a chapter on boiier operation and a comprehensive chaprer on maintenance. The chapter on steam use stresses the

importani but sometimes overlooked point that savings he¡e can be many times

as great as savings in steam generation. Finally, there is a chapter on training

counes and information for operators and managers. The authors gratefully acknowiedge permission f¡om Esso Petroleum Company,

Limited to publish their contributions. However. responsibillty for the content

and for any errors that may have persisted in it is theirs alone.

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefuily acknorvledge provision of illustrations by the followi

o rganisat ions

Taylor Anaiytics NEI Thompson Cochran Ltd

University of Leiceste¡ audio visual unii Bestobell Mobrey Ltd Nu-way Heating Piants Ltd Hamworthy Engineering Ltd

Spirax Sarco Ltd

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I Safety

Oil or gas-fired package boilers are frequently described as'fuliy automatic',

giving the impression that once started they can be left to operate without

supervision. This is possible, but dangerous. It could, in the extreme, cause a

explosion. It would certainly make the boile¡ operate well-below its

optimum efficiency. No boiler ought to be run without a qualified operato;

being on the site. He need not be in the boiler'room ail the time, but he should

be where he can hear an alarm and act on it. It would be nore accu¡ate to

describe package boiiers as being automatic only to the extent that they are

fitted with controls to maintain combustion efficiency under varying load

conditions and to cont¡ol water level, and that this enables the amount of

attendance to be reduced.

Guidance Note PM5 from the Health and Safety Executive states'Experience has shu+;:s.;i¡ai ths il:¿tder¡ce oÉ"darnage or expiosron'caused by iow water

conditions has been higher pro ratawith boile¡s having fully automatic ievel and

firing controls than with those which are manually controlled'. It foliows then

that safe package boiler operation can only be achieved by working to a system-

atic, closely controiled operating plan.

boiler

Boiler safety cannot be separated from boiier efficiency; there are close ties

between the two. There are also iinks with the maintenance and repair aspects.

Figure 1-1 shows these iinks and their connection witir operational practices.

For example, the safety of a boiler will depend on the standa¡d of maintenance

and this in turn will be influenced by the way the unit is operated.

The compiexity of a modern package boiler makes the statutory boiler

inspection as covered by the Examination of Steam Boilers Regulations 1964

less than adequate. A more detailed three-part check is recommended, including

such items as the control cubicle with its associated wiring, the motor starters,

and so on.

Hazards from operating package boilers can a¡ise on the water side from low water level, poor quality feed water or high steam pressure. On the fire side they

may be caused by defects in the firing equipment and controls. Low water level

is dangerous in any boiler. In particular, modern package boilers contain little

water in relation to their steaming capacity, and faiiure of the water feed system

Boiler Efficiency and Safeq

Safety

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Operational

practices

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E nergy

l\4aintenance

conseruation

repairs

Figure 1.1

could quickly cause a serious accident from fu¡nace tube coilapse. To a lessei degree, perhaps, there ls the danger of an explosion from tube over-heiiilrg where scale build-up has insulated heating surfaces from the water, so crrriri,

the tube material to solten and become Ceformed under tl'e srcam pressnre. fu.

simiia¡

for testing and mainlenance lt

\vay, coi-idensate .icntaÍ¡i.:l¡ted rvit.h il:,i'cairi r3ri3u. lalcai over-heai;:.ri:,

Fire risk must also be considered;provision

ñre valves and associated equipment is essential for continued safe operation.

The boiler specialist

Energy conservation is not, of course, conñned to the boiier house. The grr*i .,;, savings in fuel are likely to be r:rade whe¡e heat i" used, on tile p;ccers pllii,i Here there can be conflicting interests between the production and service si

at a factory or installation. One solution ls to set up an organisation wherr .

single person (with deputy) is made responsibie forthe technical aspects o1'b.:,,t' the total steam-raising and steam-using operations wiihin the boiler house ¡r '

on the plant. He is described in this book as the 'boilerspecialist'.

The boiler speciaiist is a suitabiy trained emoloyee who is responsibie fcrr ,

aspecls of bojle¡ operaüon and safely- -E"ec-h orgaaisaric* wjlJ have its own ir.l,,

about the appointment,

operator, a plant fitter, a tech¡ician or a shift or maintenance supervisol. i'

advantages of undivided responsibility for this important area are clear, siri,. problem of shift operation is that the boiler plant may become no one's resir,,:

sibility and be neglected. It would be the boiler specialist's responsil-r;lii;r carry out the duties which can be summariseri in table i.1, so avoiding a pol:.

random approach that might lead to unsafe as weii as inefficient boiler oper;r'".r

This total operation would include setting up a system for routine cheil.

but certainly it could be covered by a senior ¡ri;,

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Tabie 1.1 Summary of speciaüst duties

c Monito¡ operation of boiler or heating plant

o Check legisiation is compiled with and company practices foilowed

o Advise management about the maintenance and repair of the piant: when contracto¡s are used, ensure their work meets requirements

r Participate in training plant staff

¡ Advrse plant management on enelgy-conservation and regularlY re-vi¡ew results

activities for boiler fuels,

of the actual boi-ler controls. a system for checking feed water quality, and a pianned system of maintenance. It would aiso include a means for controlling

combustion and steam usage. A recording system is required to give information

which will ensure that defects are corrected as speedily as possible and fuel consumption minimised. Later chapters in this book cover these aspects, together with some suggestions for carrying c'.lt essentlsi cperator iraining,

The inspection system

The inspection system can be divided according to daily and weekiy frequencies

as shown in tables 1 .2 and I .3.

In addition to the dailv and weekiy inspections there is the statutory inspec-

tion, anC ?ll,:d.ii¡r]ftl three-part rnspeetion;'dealt with in rft:re deteil:ft1"¡siri"¿ |.d1

wlúcir summarises alj these inspections and indicates the responsible bodies.

Safetlt

Table 1.2

Daily inspections

Energy conservation

4-hourly checks

Boile¡ btowdown as instructed

Inspect fo¡ leaks Check water 1eve1 in sight glass

8-hourly checks Biowdown sight glasses

Check feed water free from

contamination

Daily or on receipt

Fuel oil réceipts

Daíly

Steami water meter readings

24-hourl1, checks

Check frrst level control

Check second level control (specialist)

Checl- flame fariure device

Observations made fo¡ possible fault reporting

Safety

Table 1.3

Check leve1 controls Check flame-failure device

Check

Boiler Efficiency and Safety

Weekly inspections

Energy conseryation

Combustion

testing

ca¡bon dioxide, smoke number, f-1ue gas tempe¡ature

Observations made for possible lault reporting

Table 1.4

Trained boiler operator

Boiler specialist

Insurance company

Qualified cngineer

Overall inspection responsibilities

4 and 8.liourly-and daily

Daily and weeHy Staiutory

Annual three-part

The three-part annuai inspection has three principal objectives, to ensure that

rpiant complies with legislation and compan)¿ standards .company safety anrl energy-conservation practices are foilowed rprcper standa¡ds of nlaintenance and ¡e ua.i¡ are bejng appiieC.

It can be organised by the ñrsr part being donejust before the statutory inspec. tion, with the plant fuily operationai. The second part can be done during ihe statutory inspection, when the piant is stripped down. At this time ali the i:,:ms requiring internal inspection can be attended to. The third part of the inspeln can be completed afte¡ the boiler has been put back on line. It is a check io see that all running adjustments have been correctly made.

Table 1.5

Action log procedures

Operators

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Boiler speciali5f5

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Plant management

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Log book

Log book

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Insurance

company

Boiie¡

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Safe4,

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l,og books must be kept and used. They must have a section for

ing, and the¡e must be an agreed set of procedures for deaiing with

in it. One such set of procedures is shown in table 1.5.

fault report-

faults logged

There are obviously many possible variations but every organisation should

about a problem as soon

have a system which tells supervisors and management

as it arises. Regular inspection of logs, regardless of the

fault reporting, is

especially important if the necessary close control is to be achieved.

References

Guidance Note PM5:

Automatically

controlled steam and hot water boíler

1977)

spaces, hazard.s and precautíons

(Health and Safery Executive, HMSO,

Guítiance Note G55:

Entry into confíned

(Health and Safety Executive, HMSO, 1977)

7, Types ased SeHection of

Fuel Giis

Types of fuel oil

The broadest classification of petroleum fuei is

rdistillate fuels, including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), composed e.f

petroleum fractions which have been vaporised and condensed

oresidual fuei oils. composed wholly or partly of petroleum fractions which rio not vaporise during the distillation process.

LPG can be obtained substanririly pure and accordirgly is ciassifled b-,

lts main chernio*'r¿cr.¡*.rposiiion:.butene

oli]í{,lr¿riir:i"i'ii¿ ,:,:sr_ijiaie l11d tes,,,t

lueis are so complex that they are classified by rheir end use: pe'"rol, paratfin, aviation fuel, diesel lue1, heating or1 and a range of heavy fuels ibr marine and

industrial use. Standa¡d specifications for fuels are issued in many countries, usuailv hi,,

some national body. In the United Kingdom it is the British Standards Institur:,.,,. The standards ensure that a1l fueis meeting a given ciassification will give sati:i-

ücior1'performarrce in theii dcsignated end usc.

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Table 2.1 shows the standards issued by various countries and compares them

with the fuei classes of BS 2869: 1970 Specification for petroleum fuels for oij

engines and burners.

Distillate fuels

A dlstillate fuel is initially refi¡ed by primary distillati¡¡.n- Jt will usually be

transiucent and contain negligible amounts of water and ash-forming constituents.

The sulphur content will depend on the crude oil from which it is distilled. Thr

only distillate fuei to be considered here is heating oil,

meeting BS 2869 class l.¡

A typical inspection is given in table 2.2. Thís is the main fuel used to flre domestic centrai heating units ove¡ 29 kW, and for central heating of shops. public buiidings, and so on up, to at least a requirement of 150 kW. These

installations usually employ 1-ui1y automatic gun-type pressure jet burners adapre r.:

to ON-OFF operation, the fuei being ignited electrica-Ily.

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rec.¡urrements for a distllla¡e luel are rnal iI wlll lgnlte reaolly

complerely even whentireboileriscold.

It may be stored and handled at ambient

reniperatures. Filters and. wherever possibie. tlie pipeline from the storage tan].

should be protected against extreme winter conditions. Tire fuel ñiter should

always be indoors, and the pipe runs between tank and fi1ter should be lagged or

buried. Apart from the automatic controls. which are electncally operated. the

oniy power consumption is to raise the fuel to atomising pressure. Electricit¡'

demand is therefore very low. Because of their low sulphur content, distillate fuels are useful in installations

where high chimneys a¡e not permitted. The Chimney Height Memorandum

waives any miÍiÍr¡um on chirñlet: isigtrr if rire amou'nt oi suiphur dioxide enritted

does not exceed 1.36 kglh. Because distiliate fuels are practically ash free and

have low suiphur contents. maintenance costs (including boiler. burner and

chimney cieaning) can be reduced considerabl-Y provided that the combustion

conditions are optimised. These maintenance cost savings. coupled with ease oi storage and handling and low electricity requiremeni, could be used to iustiilr a

distiiiate in place of a residual fuel. This rs particularly important if the use ol a

residual fuel in a given installation is giving rise to a public nuisance - sa)'

smutting - which cannot be cured by the recommendations given in chapters 4

or 6. BS 2869 Class D distillate fuels a¡e marked by a red dye and contain

chemicai markers so that they may be distinguished f¡om road fuels, on wlich

excise duty is payable.

Residuai .fuels

T;'pical Ínspections ol iight, ntedium and heary gracies of fuei oil are given irt

( table 2.2. These fuels are based on the residues obtained from the distillation of

li crude oi1 blended as necessary with distillate fuel to give required viscoslt)'

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ranges. The nature of the residues depends on the crude and type oi distillation

plant. Because no further refining takes place, residual fuels are cheaper to

produce than distillates. To beneñt f¡om the reduced fuei cost, the user must

take precautions to minimise potential problems such as low tenlperature

corrosion. high temperature corrosion, poor combustion and so on. If he does

not. the cost benefitsof using residual fuels can easiiy be eroded. These problems and their solutions are rliscussed elseq'here in this book. The residues obtained

from different crudes and distillation processes can vary in viscositl,. sulphur and

ash contents. Sonre of these qualities. and their impact on end use. are no\\'

discussed.

Viscosity grades

Residual fuels can be blended (cut-back) to a desired viscosity range. For econ- omic, design and handling reasons. three grades are marketed generally in the

United Kingdom. Some countries market different grades - see table 2.1. The

choice oi ivhich fuel viscosity

of irandling ipumpability), and

Boiter Efjiciency and Safety

group to use depends on factors such as the ease burner and boiler design.

Pumpabilit.y

Residual luel oii

suspension of wax,

is a highry complex mlxture. It can be regarded as a coiloidal

asphaltenes and resins in a heayy oil. at higher

reiationsirip is sulficiently constant to

-rl1o*

temperatures,

the required

calcurated rrom the specified viscosity for that ruel

approaches its pour point, its temperature/

temperature behaviour of residual

its temperature/viscosity

atomising temperarure to be

grade. However, as the fuer cools and

viscosiry relarionship changes drastically. Lorv

luels cannot therefore be predicted iiom thei¡ specified viscosiries. pumpability

tesrs are required to do that.

BS 2869 recommends minimum

storage and handling temperarures f,or each

worst cases rikeiy to be encountered.

optimum atomising viscosity (or

of the grades (see table 2.3), covering the

and bu¡ner manufacturers recommend the

temperature) for a given grade of fuer oil for their brrrners.

Some economy may be available

in storage and handling costs

the Institure of petroleum rp 230174

by applying

pu.puuitity tesr to rhe fuer. This tesr

apparent viscosities of 25 poise

and handring varues. These are

to .ou., , *orrt cases, so

assesses the temperatures at which the luel has

and 6 poise, respectively

usually lowe¡ than those

allowing less heat to be used.

the minimum storage

recommended by

-BS

Class of fuet

E

F

G

Tabie 2.3

Recommended storage temperatures

.l4inimum temperuture Ior

srorage (" g)

Minimum temperature Jbr outfla,at from storage and for handting (oC)

10

2.5

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10

30

s0

Sulphttr contenr

All residual fueis contain some

suiphur compounds- r¡es€ c*rapounds aie

removal by refining would be uneconomic.

of the combustion products of-surphur instailation are deait with in chapter 4.

best smali boiiers are likery to have

therefo¡e aiways b.

,o.n. io,n.,.tion

unwanted impuririm, but therr rotal

Remedies to combat rhe adverse effect

on the cooler parts of the boiler/chimney

These precautions shourd be respected. At

20 per cent excess air ievels, and there will

of sulphur trioxide in them, even with 1ow sulphur content fuels.

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Types and Selection of Fuel Oik

11

Ash content

Petroleum c¡udes contain complex organic compounds containing vanadium,

which concentrate in the residual fuels u,hen the crude is distiiled. The vanadium

content of residuai fuels will vary from a few parts to a few hundred parts per million depending on crude oil source.

On combustion, and conrbination with sodium and sulphur, vanadium

compounds can form low melting peini compounds whiofi ean corrode iron at oC.

temperatures above 565

Fortunately, high temperature corrosion is not a

severe problem in the United Kingdom. The method used today for fixing fire-

tubes in rube plates in packaged boilers optimises conduction of heat away to

the water side. Older boilers may have fire-tube ends extending out of the plate

and thus be vulne¡able to hi.eh temperature corrosion. These boilers should

preferabiy be modified. If thls is not possible, the watef side of the plate and

tubes should be kept as clearr as possible.

Selection of fuel oils

The various grades of residual f-uel are obtalned by blending residues tvith distillate fuel. The more resiiiual fuel in the blend (the 'heavier' the fuel) the

longer is the time for complete burn-out of all the components. For this reason.

disliliate fuels generallv give Shc¡r- flames and residual fuels give picgressívely

Iorrger rjames as tl-rei¡ lnoiease in viscositv.

Boilers are designed to be capable of generating a given amount of sream or

hol water per hour. However. boiler designs diffel, even for equivalent outpurs. and two boilers with the same nominal ratings and operating unrier similar load

conditions. but of different design. may not be abie to burn the same fuel

satislactorii¡i. There is a trend towards reduction in boiler size. with increases in

heat release per unit volurire.

As a first approximation, tabie 2.4 gives throughputs per burner for the

diflerent BS 2869 Class fuels discussed.

As a general guide. for boiiers of a given rating destined for base ioad opera-

1ion. the heaviest grade possible should be chosen. For tl.rose tvith inte¡mittent

duty or fluctuatlng load. the lightest grade should be chosen. For example, for

Table 2.4

BS 2869 Ciass

D

E

F

G

Heating oiJ

Fuel light

Fucl medium

Fuel heaq'

Th¡oughputs fo¡ various fuels

Acceptable throughput per burner

instalied (kW)