Increasing Water System Sustainability - Part 3:

Helping Meet Energy Conservation Goals

  • 31 January 2023
  • Author: Chem-Aqua, Inc
  • Number of views: 2431
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Water and energy go hand in hand. It takes energy to pump, treat, heat, and cool water for boiler and cooling systems. Not only can optimizing water usage help minimize energy usage, but managing scale deposits, corrosion, and biofilms also play a role in energy demands.

Boiler and cooling water systems require substantial amounts of energy to run our modern-day world. Proper water management can help reduce and optimize these energy demands. Multiple strategies are available to help meet energy-saving objectives, including optimizing water chemistry, improved pretreatment, preventing scale deposits, reducing water waste, and equipment maintenance.

Impact of Cycles of Concentration
As described in Part 2 of this series regarding water conservation, a core concept to efficiently operate boiler and cooling water systems is “cycles of  concentration.” The cycles of concentration measure the degree to which the dissolved-solid impurities in the makeup water are concentrated. If too low, energy, water, and treatment chemicals will be wasted. If too high, scale, corrosion, and other issues can reduce energy efficiency and decrease equipment life. Finding the best cycles of concentration for a particular boiler or cooling tower system helps optimize sustainability and costs of operation.

Boiler Energy Saving Strategies
Steam boilers burn fuel to turn water into steam for space heating, process uses, power generation, and more. The makeup water quality, degree of system control, and mass balance of waters within the system can directly impact energy efficiency. Since energy is required to heat boiler water, water savings strategies also reduce energy usage.

  • Optimize Cycles of Concentration: Reducing cycles also reduces fuel, water, and chemical usage.
  • Pretreatment Equipment: Optimizes cycles and minimizes insulating scale and problem-causing corrosion (e.g., water softener, dealkalizer, reverse osmosis, demineralizer)
  • Best Fit Chemical Treatment: Minimizes energy usage, water consumption, scale, and corrosion.
  • Automate Blowdown Control: Fine tunes boiler conductivity control to maintain proper cycles and reduce fuel, water, and chemical usage.
  • Maximize Condensate Return: Recycles high-purity, hot water instead of having to heat fresh makeup water.
  • Properly Maintained Steam Traps: Decreases wasted steam which reduces energy usage.

Cooling Tower Energy Saving Strategies
Cooling towers are used to remove heat from building HVAC systems and industrial processes.  Maintaining clean heat transfer surfaces is important to maximizing energy efficiencies and sustainability.

  • Optimize Cycles of Concentration: Optimizing cycles reduces water usage while minimizing potential to form insulating scale deposits on heat transfer surfaces.
  • Best Fit Chemical Treatment: Minimizes scale, corrosion deposits, and unwanted microbiological activity which inhibit flow and heat transfer.
  • Automate Chemical Feed and Control: Automation to continuously monitor and adjust the water treatment program based upon changing system demands to achieve maximum system protection and minimum operating costs.
  • Microbiological Control: Reduces insulating effects of biofilm formation and helps minimize corrosion.
  • Filtration: Removes suspended solids to reduce deposit formation that can inhibit heat transfer and support microbiological growth.

Closed System Energy Saving Strategies
Closed heating and cooling loops are recirculating water systems where heat is added to one part of the system and then removed in another part. Energy efficiency is directly impacted by insulating deposits that form on heat transfer surfaces, such as chiller tubes and heat exchangers. 

  • Filtration: Removes suspended solids to reduce corrosion and deposit formation on heat transfer surfaces.
  • Reduce Water Loss: Minimizing water losses also reduces the energy required to heat or cool the water.
  • Eliminate Dead Legs: Identify and eliminate low to no-flow sections that can house unwanted microbiological activity and lead to insulating biofilms on heat transfer surfaces.
  • Automate Chemical Feed: Ensures proper levels of chemical treatment are maintained to minimize corrosion and deposits.

Conclusion
Achieving more sustainable, energy-efficient water treatment solutions while optimizing total costs of operation requires a partnership approach with proven water treatment providers. Chem-Aqua has the knowledge and experience to help you evaluate and meet your energy efficiency and sustainability goals. Contact us to find out which sustainable solutions will help your facility conserve valuable resources.

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