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How to Waste Steam

04/25/2014 1:30 AM

This is probably not one of the most asked questions on this forum so hopefully someone can assist me with this. I have a customer that has a sawmill in the middle of nowhere. They have a fairly we'll automated boiler combustion system and controls to maintain the integrity and lifespan of the step grate furnace to the boiler. The problem they have is that they have excess fuel that they need to get rid of. Burning it is an environmental issue so that is out of the question. The customer wants to burn the wood waste in the boiler and generate steam but has no idea what to do with this excess steam. Venting to atmosphere is noisy and also wastes water and chemicals. Does anyone have any ideas on what to do with this steam that is not too costly and as simple as possible. We are installing 120m of new 10" steam lines to the plant and the the customer wants us to leave off the insulation so they an use more fuel but we do not want to do this as we are concerned with all the associated problems with excess water in a steam line. Please help.

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#1

Re: How to waste steam

04/25/2014 2:21 AM

I'm assuming that they are not using electricity or shipped in fuel for any other processes that required added heat already.

.

One idea is would be to add value to the existing product. Perhaps the steam could be used to indirectly heat kilns to partially or completely dry the wood.

.

Another idea is to use part of the wood waste to process the remaining wood waste into a valuable product.... for example, using the steam to dry and compress the wood waste into wood fuel pellets.

.

If they don't have existing heat needs that could be shifted to the excess steam, they can't reasonably add value to the existing product with steam, and the wood waste itself cannot be developed into a profitable product, then perhaps a small generator to produce electricity....or sell buckets of steam to the public. I hear the stuff is great; many uses.

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#17
In reply to #1

Re: How to waste steam

04/26/2014 3:27 AM

On second though......

.

What fuel is currently being used to heat the boiler? I doubt it is all wood waste. I suspect it probably represents a regular expenditure in excess the cost the wood waste carries. It would make sense to simply supplement the normal fuel with all the wood waste. It is likely to save in regular fuel costs.

.

If on the other hand, this saw mill is powered exclusively by wood waste, perhaps some consideration should be given to reducing the kerf...

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#22
In reply to #1

Re: How to waste steam

04/26/2014 6:00 AM

Steam mops are a fast growing consumer item. Carefully packaged pails of steam could be a big seller.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: How to waste steam

04/26/2014 7:08 AM

Could end up being the next big consumer hit. Perhaps even surpassing the record set by the metric broom.

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#27
In reply to #23

Re: How to waste steam

04/26/2014 7:08 PM

Metric broom? I want one. What size batteries does it use?

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: How to waste steam

04/26/2014 8:57 PM

Most will work with one artillery battery. Though I know some get charged with a ssaultand battery.

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#2

Re: How to waste steam

04/25/2014 3:43 AM

Drain it to steam traps

Steam Trap is a device used to discharge condensate and non condensable gases with a negligible consumption of live steam and prevent the leakage of steam. Steam trap valve also calls Resistance steam drain valve. The basic working principle is using the weight and temperature difference of steam and water to realize the Hydrophobic purpose. In the system of steam heating, Steam trap valve can resist steam and drainage. Choosing the right Resistance steam drain valve can make the steam heating device reach the highest working efficiency.

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#3

Re: How to waste steam

04/25/2014 4:12 AM

No market for surplus wood pulp? No scope for power generation and export? No scope to add value to the product range? They're new ones on me, Uncle!

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#4
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Re: How to waste steam

04/25/2014 4:18 AM

Wood chips are sold but unfortunately in their geographical market there is no viable market for the sawdust mounds and are therefore generally burnt away.
Power generation is not allowed by our dictator-esk government owned power utility so is out of the question.
But if you could elaborate on "add value to the product range" I would be interested.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: How to waste steam

04/25/2014 6:02 AM

"Add value to the product range" is exactly what it sounds like. What happens to the timber after it is cut in the saw mill? There may be a way to complete a necessary process or shorten the time for that process using the excess steam, making what is produced have more value.

.

Using steam to heat a kiln to dry what is cut comes to mind.

.

Adding additional products can also add value to the range... especially if it involves transforming a former waste product into a marketable profitable product. Using steam generated by burning part of the saw dust to power equipment to press the remaining portion of the saw dust into pellets and then further using the steam to reduce the moisture of those pellets significantly could provide a lightweight (read as low cost to ship) product that may present sufficient demand in areas within shipping distance to allow a profitable addition to the current operation.

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#6
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Re: How to waste steam

04/25/2014 6:42 AM

Make hardboard, MDF, HDF, chipboard, OSB, etc.

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#24
In reply to #4

Re: How to waste steam

04/26/2014 10:31 AM

What's the real problem here?

It's money, right?

First total up your annual energy bills to determine what you stand to gain by going off grid.

Since you've got energy to burn I would get a creative, pugnacious lawyer to interpret the law regarding energy generation being disallowed, tell him to find out exactly how it's framed in the law and the exact precise way around it.

They all know how to do that, it just depends on the free cash available, (see energy bills above.)

Tell him that his fees are contingent on him finding a way for you to generate power so he can get a percentage of the surplus cash thus generated.

Use another part of the excess cash you generate to tie up the asshole power utility in court for years while the hay rolls in.

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#32
In reply to #4

Re: How to waste steam

04/28/2014 2:57 PM

News flash: High temperature steam can be used to even re-form sawdust into "wunderwood" bars of incredible strength and durability. By melting the lignins in the sawdust, it is possible to make a moldable product that is extrusion formed. Look it up. If I have to tell you exact details of the process, you need to find another line of work.

Another thing that comes to mind is to use a gasification reactor to make synthetic fuels from sawdust, forget the steam boiler (unless you need steam for a step somewhere in the process).

If nothing else, the sawdust can be extruded for fuel pellets as well as the wood chips. Nothing in nature is waste, there is always some creature willing to use it.

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#7

Re: How to waste steam

04/25/2014 7:46 AM

They can make wood brickets and can make additional revenue if not consumed in house. They can can dispose the same to a bricket manufacturer.

Making steam and finding use for it all add to your cost only.

Let them find wealth from waste saw dust.

They can also send it to the local communities for domestic cooking ovens , which are excellent fuel.

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#8

Re: How to waste steam

04/25/2014 7:51 AM

Use the steam and sawdust to make bullet proof bathroom doors
Del (Kris made me say it )

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#9
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Re: How to waste steam

04/25/2014 7:57 AM

Hahahaha

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#33
In reply to #8

Re: How to waste steam

04/29/2014 7:42 AM

Yes. There's probably a market for them in South Africa.

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#35
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Re: How to waste steam

04/29/2014 11:04 AM
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#10

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/25/2014 10:03 AM

Set up a particle board plant to add to the product line.

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#11

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/25/2014 10:38 PM

Instead of making more steam, buid a charcoal plant and turn the sawdust into compressed charcoal brickets or logs.Should be a good market for charcoal.

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#12

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/25/2014 11:32 PM

Dear Mr.Steam,

You have not indicated the quantuity of the wast to be burnt and pressure and temp. of the boiler. In simple term, we should not waste the valuable heat energy. Burning the waste, which cannot be avoided is throwing CO2 and dust to atmosphere.

If the pressure and temp. is known we can install a suitable Power Turbine and generate electricity and use for in house and balance power can be sold to a nearby/specific customer or to the grid.

First option should be to identify a buyer for the waste wood for their need.

Second option is put a suitable turbine and generate power.

Pl. provide the details for quantity of waste to be burnt and if possible the calorific value which is burnt and the Boiler Pressure and Steam Temp. and the water availability for cooling tower or spray pond to cool the water circulated for condenser.

DHAYANANDHAN.S

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#34
In reply to #12

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/29/2014 9:59 AM

Did you read the part where the local despot in charge (dictator) does not want them generating electric power? I think he must be Amish (that's a joke, son).

Instead of generating electricity, they could use the steam to store energy in hydraulic accumulators that could mechanize the entire process in the sawmill, and the leftover "fuel" sawdust and chips could still be converted into particle board, or "wunderwood".

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#13

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/26/2014 12:11 AM

You mentioned that venting steam waste water. How about using the steam heat for distillation of raw water into a pure, safe, potable product. In many parts of the world clean and safe drinking water sells for as much as petroleum fuel, if it is available. Transportation must be available to ship the sawmill products. Why not an extra train car for a desirable product..

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#29
In reply to #13

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/28/2014 6:59 AM

Der Mr.enlav,

Referring to your comment to use the steam and getpure water from raw water - the pure water will be distilled water and will not contain any minerals in the form of Totally Dissolved Solids, which is a must for good health.

DHAYANANDHAN.S

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#30
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Re: How to Waste Steam

04/28/2014 10:48 AM

It may be free of the 'good minerals,' but it will also be free of such things as lead and infectious microorganisms.

Priorities must be considered, first remove all the Bad Stuff, then look at how to put back the Good Stuff that got taken out with the bad.

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#14

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/26/2014 12:42 AM

One use of excess steam could be use of Vapour absorption machine for airconditioning or generation of chilled water/ice for any use.

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#15

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/26/2014 12:53 AM

I am right now on project to use excess steam produced from solar concentrator. The idea is to pump water using a 'steam syphon' using available/excess steam. Consider if this would be helpful.

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#16

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/26/2014 2:49 AM

There are some good suggestions on this thread already but they are all very sensitive to geographic location and the volume of the waste. There is not likely enough waste to make another product except maybe fuel pellets but those are pretty sensitive to geographic location to be able to sell them--or even if there is a market in your area. They are doable because the capital equipment is pretty scaleable down to the very lowest volumes. I'm sure you don't have the hundreds of thousands of tons of woodwaste necessary for a MDF plant, though.

Have you done the calcs to see how much heat you have to dump to burn the waste generated? Can the boiler do it?

I've seen a heat dump installed in a hot oil energy system in a sawmill in Alberta, Canada. It was just a large radiator with a fan that blew the energy to the sky.

You could also do it by heat exchanging to water, if you have close access to a creek or river where the excess heat could be dumped.

What is the plant using the steam for now? Are they generating their own power and is the lumber kiln dried with their steam? Could you waste steam by installing electric heaters to dump power? That's assuming their generator has excess capacity. Could you put steam turbines on key machines in the mill, for example to drive the air compressors if they are buying outside power?

Can you impair the efficiency of the boiler in some way, (without impairing the clean burning of the woodwaste) for example, don't bother preheating feedwater. Bypass the economizer. Don't use the sootblower as often to clean tubes. Maximize the wetness of the woodwaste feedstock to the limit of the boiler's specifications. (if it was spec'd to handle fuel with 50% moisture content, then make sure the fuel is that wet at all times.

Going from the wild to the whimsical: Throw out any steam turbines that are generating power--get an old steam locomotive, jack it up and belt from a drive wheel to the generator. Efficiencies are guaranteed to drop by orders of magnitude!!

This sounds like a fun assignment!

Keep us posted!!

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#25
In reply to #16

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/26/2014 11:47 AM

Thanks Jon. Some great ideas there.
You are correct in assuming that most of the other suggestions, while useful, are impractical due to location.

The boilers have the capacity to handle the excess fuel.

Steam is for drying on the kilns only and nothing else. They are putting up a power plant on the site next door in 2016 and want as low a capital investment for now.

I will be keeping my eyes open for any old steam locomotives though. Not too many lying around in South Africa though.

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#31
In reply to #25

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/28/2014 10:54 AM

"They are putting up a power plant on the site next door in 2016 and want as low a capital investment for now."

What sort of power plant? Would it be feasible to sell them the excess fuel? Or is the power plant a government-funded project that won't pay fair market price for their supplies?

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#18

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/26/2014 3:50 AM

Just burning your surplus free fuel to generate steam that won't be used.....as you said that just wastes the boiler dosing chemicals and it will shorten the life of your boiler too.

Finding something else to do with the energy or produce something with the material is the rational approach as others have suggested.

Electricity generation is the most obvious but you say your electrical energy monopoly there won't allow it.....even for use at the facility only ie not grid connected?

How about using the surplus fuel to make house bricks?

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#19

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/26/2014 4:43 AM

I once refurbished the sawmill of a paper making plant in the UK. Bark stripped from the trees was bagged an sold via garden centers as a mulching material and sawdust was sold as bedding material for use with horses. We had to remove old sawdust from beneath the cutting tables to access the cabling. This had composted and provided a boost for my and several of my neighbours' rose beds.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/26/2014 4:52 AM

Sorry pressed submit rather than edit before I had finished my comment.

My suggestion is that rather than burning the waste wood, if it could be shredded and mixed with the sawdust it would make an excellent soil improver for local farmers. Giving it away free would be cheaper and more environmentally sound than burning and would benefit the local community.

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#21

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/26/2014 5:52 AM

Why is it necessary to burn the wood waste? Can't it be disposed of as wood.

Anyway, with an adequate supply of wood and steam, you could set up a plant to make activated charcoal.

Activated carbon has a big role to play in modern pollution control - the market is certainly not shrinking.

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#26

Re: How to Waste Steam

04/26/2014 12:45 PM

Burning the excess fuel, where is as is, is an environmental issue but using the boiler, effectively, as a bloody incinerator isn't.....something wrong here.

Let it all rot and release methane instead...how does that stack up with the "authorities"?

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