Flow Control Instrumentation for Industrial Steam Generation

Industrial steam generation creates useable steam for a wide variety of applications through a process known as the steam loop. First, water is treated so it can be converted into steam more efficiently. The feed water then undergoes deaeration. Boiler feed water is then further conditioned for greater efficiency. The boiler is heated and converts the water to steam. After the steam does its work, it condenses to water and is collected for reuse in the boiler plant. If you would like to learn more about level applications for the steam loop process, these are addressed in the Magnetrol® blog posts from September 1 and September 8.

Throughout the steam loop, it is necessary to monitor the flow of the water and the gas used for boiler fuel to maintain process efficiency and safety. This blog post identifies applications for flow instrumentation in industrial steam generation.

Pump Protection

industrial_steam_generationPumps are used in the steam loop for moving process fluids. Whether caused by a closed valve, a plugged line downstream or by pump cavitation, pumps operating in a reduced or no-flow condition can overheat and rupture the pump’s seal and cause a dangerous deviation in process pressure and temperature. A flow switch positioned along the pump’s discharge piping will actuate an alarm and shut down the pump when liquid flow drops below the minimum flow rate. Solid-state switches provide the highest level of pump protection in these instances by offering low flow sensitivity, wide temperature operation and high turndown.
Flow Alarm: Thermatel® TD1/TD2 Level/Flow/Interface Switch for High/Low Alarm.

Burner Fuel Gas Flow

Natural gas and biogas are the most common gaseous forms of boiler fuel. Natural gas is primarily methane, and biogas is typically 65% methane and 35% carbon dioxide. The flow of process gases in operations must be monitored for safety and efficiency. Flaring and venting as a management strategy for biogas is giving way to energy harvesting technologies with the economic advantage of creating heat, electricity, fuel or feed stocks while also reducing carbon emissions. Flow alarms and continuous flow controls monitor product streams and signal no-flow conditions caused by plugging or valve closure.
Continuous Flow: THERMATEL TA2 Mass Flow Meter.
Flow Alarm: THERMATEL TD1/TD2 Level/Flow/Interface Switch for High/Low Alarm.


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