GDS-100 Gets Top Grades When Put To The Test

For building systems like boilers, cooling towers, and heat exchangers that use water to transfer heat, the buildup of mineral deposits and scale inside the equipment is a normal part of the operation. Over time the scale layer gets so thick that heat cannot transfer efficiently through the equipment causing substantial system losses and potential equipment breakdowns. The only way to get the efficiency back is to either mechanically or chemically remove the scale from the equipment, and at this level of scale buildup, a chemical was the only viable option.

For one Operation’s Shift Supervisor at a municipal water power generation plant, routine descaling of several large plate heat exchangers was cumbersome and a burden. As he says,

“We usually just opened the heat exchanger up and cleaned it with power washers. That worked, but it was very labor-intensive. We were interested in an easier way to remove scale buildup” Having already been introduced to Goodway’s time-saving tube cleaning equipment, he called his local sales rep for a way to improve the labor-heavy descaling work.

“Our Goodway sales rep sent us a brochure on the GDS-100 descaling system and I did some research. The product seemed like it might apply to our work and could save labor costs by not having to open up the heat exchanger. The setup looked easy and we had never tried a recirculating system, so we decided to test it out.”

The GDS-100 is a portable “clean-in-place” (CIP) descaling system that pumps descaling liquid through industrial hydronic equipment to dissolve mineral scale deposits, into a liquid suspension to be flushed out. The descaling system is built on wheels making it easy to roll to the work area and once it’s running, the descaler can be left to do the work while the technicians take care of other things.

The power plant maintenance team put the GDS-100 to the test. They filled it with ScaleBreak® Liquid Descaler to see how the system would handle a heavily scaled plate heat exchanger. “We decided to let the GDS-100 circulate for a full 24 hours to see if it could clean it. When it was done we opened up the heat exchanger and found that it did an effective job at cleaning out the scale.” The team immediately knew this was a product that would help them be more efficient.

“Labor savings are a huge benefit of this machine. I can set this up in two hours and just let it run unmanned by itself. We don’t have to open the heat exchanger for inspection each time we clean because we’ve already tested and know it works. The gaskets stay intact and remain inside the exchanger and we don’t have to struggle to put them back. Manual cleaning is very labor-intensive when you don’t have the benefit of the circulation system. We can see the labor savings right away.”

The savings from the GDS-100 goes beyond labor. The efficiency of the heat exchanger improved immediately after it was descaled. When scaled, the heat exchangers at the power plant were only showing a temperature drop of 4 or 5 degrees. But after being descaled with the GDS-100, the heat exchangers were giving 8 to 9-degree temperature differences – nearly a 100% improvement. The team told us that they were getting efficiencies they hadn’t gotten in a long time.

Fast setup, reduced labor costs, and improved efficiency make the GDS-100 and ScaleBreak® Liquid Descaler the choice for maintenance managers everywhere. The team at the municipal power plant is spreading the news of their success. “We’ve taken photos and sent them around to our other facilities to show them the results.” We love to make our customers more successful. Let us show you our entire line of products to make you and your equipment more efficient and work better.

Pollution Control in Boilers

In recent years (data available to 2017), the United States saw significant improvements in air quality across the entire country. All of the major pollutants decreased in concentration over the study period including sulfur dioxide (SO2) down 79%, nitrogen dioxide (NOx) down 35%, and PM2.5 particles down 41%. The United States achieved these reductions through new environmental legislation, enforcement of existing laws like the Clean Air Act, and the advancement of pollution control technologies all while the nation’s economy grew and industrial capacity expanded.

As identified in an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report, a major source of air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels in industrial factories or boilers for power generation. The EPA warns that residuals from burning coal (coal ash) are “one of the largest types of industrial waste generated in the United States.” Burning coal is an inherently dirty process and federal limits restrict the concentrations of SO2, NOx, and PM2.5 discharged to the atmosphere. Modern boiler design and pollution reduction technologies are available so that plants can provide heat or electrical power at reasonable costs while still being compliant with environmental regulations.

Pollution control in coal-fired boilers can occur at all stages of the combustion process: pre-combustion, during combustion, and post-combustion.

Pre-Combustion

The selection of fuel to burn in the boiler is the first opportunity to reduce flue gas contaminants. For example, natural gas burns cleaner than fuel oil, medical waste, or biomass and produces the least amount of pollutants in its flue gas. Natural gas is considered a low-nitrogen fuel and yields very little NOx as a by-product of combustion. Also, as the EPA notes in its technical bulletin on controlling NOx that “natural gas is desulfurized before it is sent in a pipeline. Therefore, natural gas has almost no sulfur, essentially no impurities, and no ash.”

During combustion

The moment fuel and air ignite presents an opportunity to fine-tune the stoichiometry of the combustion process and the by-products of that reaction. With flue gas recirculation (FGR) a portion of the flue gas is sent back to the combustion chamber diluting the oxygen level of the combustion air, reducing the core flame temperature. The reduced temperature lowers the NOx level in the flue gases to below 20%. Cleaver-Brooks describes FGR as “the most effective and popular low NOx technology for firetube and watertube boilers. “

A fluidized bed recirculation (FBR) boiler burns crushed coal, wood or other low-grade fuels sitting on a sand bed within the boiler fireside. Combustion air is blown up through the bottom of the sand bed and mixes with the fuel on top of the sand where combustion occurs. This boiler design results in a fast mix of air and fuel and encourages rapid heat transfer. The burning environment gives a cleaner burn with reduced quantities of NOx and SO2 in the flue gases. SO2 emissions can be reduced further by introducing pulverized limestone into the combustion chamber. Sulfur in the flue gasses reacts with the limestone to form gypsum that, when separated from the fly ash, can be used to make other saleable products.

Post-Combustion

Coal ash leaving the combustion chamber can be captured and particulate pollutants removed before being released to the atmosphere.

One method for capturing fine particles like PM2.5 is to pass boiler flue gases through an electrostatic precipitator (ESP). With an ESP the flue gas flows across high-voltage wires that electrically charge fine particles suspended in the gas. The charged particles are attracted to a collection electrode, such as a series of metal pipes or plates, and accumulate on the electrode surface. ESP’s remove more than 95% of PM2.5 particles from coal flue gas and more complex ESP systems have removal efficiencies approaching 99%. To maintain such high levels, the collection electrodes should be cleaned per the manufacturer’s recommendations to minimize the thickness of fly ash buildup on the surface.

Cyclonic or cyclone fly ash separators (not to be confused with a cyclone furnace) are another method to remove fine particles from coal boiler flue gas. A cyclone separator works by blowing flue gasses against the interior wall of a cylindrical vessel. The gas enters the vessel near the top and circulates inside like a tornado. The centrifugal forces of the rotating flue gas push the fine particles to the outside of the “tornado.” The particles hit the interior surface and fall to the bottom to be collected while clean flue gas exits the vessel at the top. Although the efficiency of a cyclone separator may reach 90%, they are rarely used alone to meet EPA standards for particulate discharge. Most cyclone separators are used in conjunction with other technology like an FBR boiler to achieve the desired particulate concentrations. The clean flue gas can be analyzed to provide insight into the overall efficiency of the boiler and heat transfer processes inside.

The EPA’s 2018 report Our Clean Air summarizes things nicely, “The U.S. leads the world in having clean air and a strong economy due to implementation of the Clean Air Act and technological advancements from American innovators.” The power industry, pollution control manufacturers, and the EPA have a strong record of working together to create reliable electrical power while reducing atmospheric contaminants and improving the quality of the air we .

Power plant maintenance involves not only cleaning the boilers and chimneys, but servicing the heat exchangers, chillers, and condensers throughout the facility. In fuel storage areas, vacuums and power tools need to have explosion-proof motors to protect people from the dangers of coal and wood dust. Goodway offers a variety of power plant maintenance technologies that are safe and easy for technicians to use in any area of the plant.

Modern Industrial Boiler Cleaning-Safer and More Efficient

Armed with long rods and brushes, early boiler cleaners toiled for hours scraping off combustion debris from a boiler’s fireside and scooping out waterside sediment exposed to all sorts of deadly ash and contaminants. Fortunately, for modern day technicians the days of long sticks and brushes are gone and new inventions keep soot and debris out of their lungs and off their faces. However, the basic problems of boiler soot and scale haven’t gone away.

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Boiler Cleaning, a Routine but Crucial Part of Facility Management

Boilers are built for a very specific reason: to provide heated water or steam using the least amount of energy, for the lowest cost, with little to no downtime. The facility manager’s job is simple and summed up in Cleaver-Brooks’ boiler efficiency guide; Routine inspections and preventative maintenance will pay for themselves in keeping boiler efficiency up and fuel costs down.” Unfortunately, maintenance staff sometimes take boilers for granted and forget that, just like any piece of HVAC equipment, a boiler needs maintenance, cleaning, and tuning. Without regular service, boiler performance diminishes and breakdowns become more frequent.

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Recording Available! Webinar: Industrial Boiler Cleaning

Goodway’s free webinar, “Industrial Boiler Cleaning” is available. The webinar host, Mark Roth, Goodway sales director, with guest Ray Field, Goodway’s director chemical technologies, walk through the basics of industrial boilers, the importance of cleaning and preventative maintenance, how to determine whether mechanical or chemical cleaning is the best solution for your facility, and the process for performing those cleaning options. There is also a question and answer session at the end of the webinar. Don’t miss this important webinar!

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