Steam accumulator: flexible solution for peak steam demand in industry

 steam accumulator
Steam accumulator - an extension of the boiler

Steam accumulator is an important part of the industrial production process , especially in industries that need to use steam such as beer production, textiles, laundry, canning, light brick production, steel industry and rubber industry with steam ovens big.

1. Peak Demand

Steam demand in any plant process is variable, but the size and type of fluctuation depends on the application and industry . Peaks can occur once per week or even per day during warm-up.

steam usage flow chart in a factory
Figure 1: Steam flow chart used in a typical factory< /em>

Figure 1 shows that in each case, the requests are almost instantaneous and the peaks are much higher than the average load. The result of a sudden requirement for increased steam flow is a pressure drop in the boiler, because the boiler and associated combustion equipment cannot produce steam at the rate at which it is being removed.

2. Consequences of Peak Demand

Peak demand and subsequent pressure drops can have quite serious consequences on plant production. In the worst case, the result is a boiler "lockout", due to the water level rising due to rapid boiling, followed by its fall. This is caused a severe low water level warning by the level controls.

In less dire cases, steam is produced carrying more moisture (also known as moisture). This, together with the pressure drop, can lead to:

  • Increased production process times (due to insufficient heat).
  • Decreased product quality product or even damage or loss of product.
  • Water hammer in steam pipes - causes instability of pipes and fittings, and can be dangerous for workers.

For boiler operators, peaking requirements are responsible for:

  • A higher level of maintenance.
  • Boiler life is reduced.
  • Fuel efficiency is reduced.

This is because the boiler constantly transitions from low power to high power, and even stopping the furnace during periods of very low demand, only to fire again a few minutes later.

Multiple boilers or high capacity boilers can be used in Attempts to cope with peak demand (and subsequent reductions in demand) result in low performance.

To illustrate this point, it can be assumed that:

  • For a normally operating boiler: heat loss is less than 1%
  • If the boiler then produces 50% of its design capacity, the heat loss is 2 % of its production rate.
  • If a boiler produces 25% of its design capacity then the losses are 4% of its production rate.
  • And so on, until a boiler is maintained at only one pressure without generating any steam reaching the plant. At this point, 1% of design capacity is a 100% loss from its steam production rate.

If the boiler is designed for peak loads , many of the problems that can arise arise from oversizing compared to the average requirements. In fact, a boiler may shut down during a period of low demand. If there is then a sudden demand for steam, the boiler will not be able to respond in time, a warning situation may occur.

The horns and lights may alarm due to the water level falling too low, The boiler may lock up and steam recovery will be slow and difficult.

3. Steam Accumulator Working

The steam accumulator is an extension of the boiler, used to store excess steam when demand is low and supply steam when demand increases High. The process typically begins by feeding excess steam into a water tank stored under pressure. When steam is loaded, the water in the steam accumulator will be heated and reach a saturated state. When steam demand increases, or the boiler cannot supply enough steam immediately, it leads to a pressure drop in the steam accumulator and part of the saturated water evaporates into steam to meet the demand.

< p>When the steam demand drops or the boiler can provide enough steam, the process of loading steam into the steam accumulator is started again and is ready for the next use. Through this process, the steam accumulator ensures that the factory or workshop always has steam available to meet their production needs efficiently and flexibly, helping to improve performance and save energy.


diagram of the principle of operation of the vapor accumulator
Diagram of the operating principle of a steam accumulator

Using a steam accumulator brings many benefits, including:< /p>

  1. Quick response: Steam accumulator can supply steam immediately when demand suddenly increases.
  2. Energy saving: By effectively using excess steam from the boiler, steam accumulators help reduce fuel consumption.
  3. Equipment protection: strong> A stable, clean dry steam supply from the steam accumulator helps protect system equipment and valves from being affected by moisture or poor quality water.

In an industry that demands flexibility and reliability, using steam accumulators is a smart solution to meet the challenges of peak steam demand. By making efficient use of energy and With just-in-time steam supply, businesses can get the best performance from their steam systems, while saving costs and protecting their production equipment.