For processes using steam, optimizing its use can deliver energy savings and greater efficiency. In a Process Instrumentation article, Improving efficiency and effectiveness with advanced steam measuring capabilities, Emerson’s Dan Cychosz shares how applying the right technologies can maximize overall control performance and minimize energy loss.
Dan opens by highlighting a challenge many manufacturers and producers face.
Typically, plant operations rely on older installations and legacy equipment to monitor steam flow, resulting in insufficient insight into the process. In many cases, this forces prioritization of process control over energy efficiency and optimization.
He notes that steam volume measurements alone do not address this challenge.
Pressure and temperature data are crucial for understanding the amount of energy contained in the volume of steam, so differential pressure (DP) and vortex flow meters that can capture this data are the best technologies to employ.
Measurement technologies such as the Rosemount 3051S multivariable transmitter and 585 Annubar for the main steam line and 3051SFC Compact and 3051SFA Annubar DP flowmeters for steam distribution, along with the Rosemount 8800 Multivariable Vortex flowmeter:
…have integrated temperature and pressure sensors, and they can be deployed at critical junctures throughout a plant to provide process engineers with a greater understanding of what is happening at a granular level. This increased monitoring helps to identify leaks and suggest opportunities for enhanced energy-saving strategies.
Having accurate steam consumption information is essential to optimize energy usage.
In the absence of consumption data with enhanced pressure and temperature analysis, process engineers cannot effectively balance energy demand throughout the distribution system. Plant productivity suffers. Energy losses due to poor insulation, stuck or leaking steam traps, and steam leaks are more difficult to discover and pinpoint for correction.
Steam measurement is challenging given steam’s many states.
Because steam can be wet or dry, saturated or superheated, and is present at a wide range of temperatures and pressures, standard flow meters require additional devices to collect temperature and pressure measurements and convert all the data to a mass flow output. Then, these older installations also require a different flow computer to calculate energy content by working enthalpy into the equation, which determines the energy rate in kJ/kg or Btu/lb. Modern flow meters designed with steam applications in mind will provide the energy rate as a direct output, eliminating the need for so many additional devices in the field.
Read the full article for more on these technologies and how they help provide the measurements for both precise process control and optimized energy usage.