What is 'condensate lift'?
This is a term that is usually used to indicate how much pressure is required to 'lift' condensate from a steam trap or other device to it's destination at a condensate return line or condensate vessel.
The first image below shows a situation where a properly sized control valve is used on a steam heater. During nominal operation, the utility steam undergoes a nominal 10-25 psi pressure loss through the valve. For typical utility steam (150 psi or higher), this can leave a pressure at the steam trap exit that is often adequate to lift the condensate to it's destination. For example, if the steam losses 20 psi through the valve and another 15 psi through the heater and piping, that can leave up to 265 ft of head to push the condensate to the header. In this case, there's little need for a condensate pump.
On the other hand, if the control is too large, it will only be a few percent open during normal operation and the steam can undergo a pressure loss of 50-75 psi or even higher! In addition to supplying terrible control for the heater, it also reduces the available head for condensate lift. In this case, or if the steam supply pressure is relatively low, it may be necessary follow the steam trap with a separation vessel and a condensate pump to push the condensate to the return line.
Adopted from Cheresources.com Newsletter
More Design of Experiment Infos
Today, I received some input/info from Mr. John Hunter (Son of William Hunter, one of the various Design of Experiment founder alongside with Mr George Box) . Thanks John for your input. Box-Hunter is one of the design of experiment (wikipedia version) technique widely used world wide apart from Response Surface Methodology (RSM).
I know these informations and links are very useful for those who deal a lot with experiments.
Quoted from John's input:
Here are some good sites with more information on design of experiments and articles on design of experiments including many from the Center of Quality and Productivity Improvement at the University of Wisconsin that was founded by William Hunter, my father and George Box (leaders in the field, in my biased opinion, but others opinions as well).
Flow Measurement Products
Two weeks ago I went to a half a day Endress + Hauser Biodiesel Instrumentation Seminar. I learned more about their product range there. Here I attached some of the flow measurement range product from Endress + Hauser that can be used from various range of condition. Those are the coriolis flow meters which can provide very accurate reading. Study more about the company at http://www.endress.com/.
Study more about the flow meter products HERE.
Get the Endress Hauser magazine HERE.
Learn more about other products from Endress Hauser HERE.
Turbine Regenerative Pump
What type of pump may be appropriate for a liquid near saturation, a low flow rate, and very limited NPSHa (net positive suction head available)?
This application is nearly perfect for a turbine regenerative type of pump. Factors that immediately identify your application and pump type are: the small flowrate, low NPSHa, and high temperature. The regenerative turbine was specifically developed for these conditions and one more: high discharge pressures. The high discharge pressure may not be necessary, but the regenerative turbine can give you a NPSHr of 0.5 feet with ease. They are particularly suited to saturated boiler feed water and your application is similar, albeit not in pressue. You can visit the site below to learn more about these types of pumps.
Density Estimation for 2-Phase Mixture
What is a good correlation to estimate the density of a two-phase mixture that is mostly vapor or operating within the mist flow region?
Spink suggested the correlation below for qualities in the range of 0.82 to 1.0:
Adopted from Cheresources Newsletter
Design of Experiment for Chemical Engineering Research
For those chemical engineering post graduate students whom are doing research, or who might plan of doing research, planning your research is very important. There will be a lot of experiments to be carried out. There must be a systematic way of doing all the tonnes of experiments. And one technique to do so is by using the Design of Experiment (DOE). My wife , Mazura, and a colleague of mine, Farizul, is going to use this tool for their pH.D research. I did used this as well during my Masters by reseach work few years ago.
DOE is a very useful technique to plan our research. From DOE we can optimize the research and know all the processing parameters that can yield optimum result. So what is actually DOE?
In an experiment, we deliberately change one or more process variables (or factors) in order to observe the effect the changes have on one or more response variables. The (statistical) design of experiments (DOE) is an efficient procedure for planning experiments so that the data obtained can be analyzed to yield valid and objective conclusions.
DOE begins with determining the objectives of an experiment and selecting the process factors for the study. An Experimental Design is the laying out of a detailed experimental plan in advance of doing the experiment. Well chosen experimental designs maximize the amount of "information" that can be obtained for a given amount of experimental effort.
The statistical theory underlying DOE generally begins with the concept of process models.
Process Models for DOE
It is common to begin with a process model of the `black box' type, with several discrete or continuous input factors that can be controlled--that is, varied at will by the experimenter--and one or more measured output responses. The output responses are assumed continuous. Experimental data are used to derive an empirical (approximation) model linking the outputs and inputs. These empirical models generally contain first and second-order terms.
Often the experiment has to account for a number of uncontrolled factors that may be discrete, such as different machines or operators, and/or continuous such as ambient temperature or humidity. Continue reading the article HERE. It's a very useful and informative one.
There a re various software/packages that offer DOE. Among them are using Statistica, Design Expert, DOE Fussion. So, incase you're interested to learn them, get hold of the software. You can start learning them from the help or tutorial available in the software. But, learning by yourself is quite slow. I know because I experienced that before. It's better for you to go through and then ask somebody who knows DOE. That will be a better way of learning. But if you/or your research group have the budget, request from your boss/supervisor to go for a dedicated course to learn DOE.
Ok, to go a little bit deeper, there are a few designs that can be choose under DOE. There are Plackett Burman Design, Response Surface Methodology (RSM) and others. I used RSM before and it was very usefull. I can have a lot of analysis generated infront of me by using RSM. It's a really fantastic tool.
Boiler Explosion: What When Wrong? Part 2
Later the electrical and instrumentation department worked hard to dry everything at the control panel. The paint on top of the control panel were damaged and ripped off from the effect of hot caustic. The boilerman also worked hard to clean the mess and spillage in the surrounding area. The boiler was left for a while to let it cool down and dry.
Soon after about 2-3 hours, i guessed, instruction was given to start the boiler, at low fire mode, just to slightly heat up the mixture of caustic and water inside the boiler. The time was about 1430 Hrs, and I just arrived at the boiler and watching the boiler people doing their job. That was the time when the boiler exploded and produced such a terrifying sound!!
After investigation, it was found that burner A (it's a twin burner boiler), furnace backfired. The boilerman intended to run the burner at a low fire mode, but instead, without anybody realising, the burner which already contained with natural gas, straight away go to the high fire mode, which provided a big spark. That caused the explosion to occur which made the burner ripped off from the boiler body and created great damage around it. The boiler sequence actually when wrong, because of the short circuit in the control relay base from the earlier hot caustic spillage. When the short circuit occured undetected, the servo motor ignited the high fire mode, by passing the other sequence of low fire etc.
It costs a lot to repair the boiler. However, I solute our maintenance fitters, instrumentation and electrical technician, including boilerman because they work very hard to rectify and repair all the damage. Within a short period of time, about 36 hours, the burner (which was luckily can still be used) was re-attached at the boiler and all pipings, fittings, valves, gear etc was fixed back. We called some boiler expert to help us with the boiler sequence and start-up operation, and that cost some money too. Well, now the boiler is back in operation. And for sure, we'll be extra carefull from this moment to avoid similar or almost similar incident from occuring again.
I would definitely won't forget that moment. And another moral of the story, do not walk unnessarily nearby the boiler!!! Appreciate life...
Boiler Explosion: What When Wrong?
After almost one week since the small boiler explosion occured, I asked my colleague the person incharge of the boiler, what is actually the reason the boiler exploded? I asked him just now, because the complete report from the specialist have been revealed.
Ok, we had some problem of some slight oil contamination inside the boiler water/steam. This is definitely not good. It can create some fluctuations in the steam production and also can cause wet steam which will result in pressure drop. And there are a lot more reasons on the bad effect of oil being inside the boiler.
So, the chemical vendor suggested us to do the Caustic Boiling. It's a method to removed completely any traces of oil inside the boiler. So, we did it. I did mention what chemical we blended and poured inside the boiler. The chemical is supposed to be mixed and boiled inside the boiler at temperature ranging from 60 - 70 oC. The feed water temperature is already about 80oC. Our superior advised to heat up the temperature so that the caustic can be thoroughly mixed with water inside the boiler via physical boiling technique. And guess what, the man-hole is not closed.
As the temperature increased gradually, the water + chemical is now almost boiled, and the water splashed out of the boiler man-hole. The hot water + hot mixture of various caustic
came out of the boiler man-hole and flowed down the external boiler body touching and covering the boiler control panel. Luckily my colleague bravely and swiftly shut off the boiler power/panel despite knowing that he can badly injured himself if the hot caustic fell and splashed on his body!!! Immedietly the electrical and intrument department were called to safe the control panel by drying it to avoid wire/electrical shot later.
Colarado Underground Black Gold Questionmark?
On my previous post on the 4th of October 2006, I mentioned about why are we busy cracking our head to think of how to process, produce and commercialize vegetable oil as a renewable energy to replace the fossiel fuel. I met and discussed this matter with an American who happens to be a Endress + Hauser Manager who came to Malaysia conducting some training and seminar, 2 weeks ago.
He said the fact is correct. However, it is very difficult to get the oil from the shale. It may took some super technology to dig and get the oil. It may also take perhaps another 50 years to get the oil underneath Colarado!!! I don't know, this was what the guy said.
I asked my colleague who is a petroleum engineer about the issue. He said, oil inside a shale is very difficult to obtained due to the complexity of the earth/stone structure. The area which have oil is very porous and makes digging the oil very tough. About two years ago, when were having a chat, he said that the fossiel fuel reserve is so big down there. The problem is that the present technology to dig the oil is not there yet. We can only get the oil which is easy to dig!!! Therefore, the oil and gas sector need a more advance method and technology to produce oil which is still available.
And perhaps, in the mean time, the crops can help to ease the pressure of limited energy supply / resources, via biofuel / biodiesel. So, now my paradigm had shift again. Vegetable oil is important to support the energy demand, not replacing them.
Preventing NaOH line from freezing
While I was clearing and updating my email, this is another interesting article that i read from the Cheresources newsletter.
Are there any guidelines for heat tracing a 50% NaOH line to prevent freezing?
Two very important things to keep in mind. First, be sure to place spacers between any heat tracing elements and the carbon steel pipe used for the NaOH. 50% NaOH will agressively attack carbon steel at higher temperatures (particularily any welds). Additionally, you really shouldn't use aluminum to cover the insulation on the line (a common material used for this purpose). Try stainless steel instead.
Preventing Salt Buildup in Steam Turbine
This another interesting article that i read from the Cheresources newsletter.
How can we prevent what appears to be some kind of salt buildup in our steam turbine?
The problem that's occurring may not be a salt buildup. The most likely cause is silica buildup. Steam acts as a very good solvent for silica which actually can vaporize in your boiler along with the water. The solution to this problem is to minimize the silica content of your boiler feed water.
Experienced operators seems to agree that a maximum silica content of 0.02 ppm in the boiler feed water should solve this problem. You can read more about this issue at:
Heat of Dilution for NaOH solution calculation
Very interesting technical information that i got from Cheresources.com newsletter.
How can I calculate the heat of dilution for a sodium hydroxide solution?
Commercializing Methane Hydrates
Mark your calendar now to attend one of the most important events of the year:
WHAT: Hart's Commercializing Methane Hydrates
WHEN: December 5 – 6, 2006
WHERE: Hotel Sofitel Houston in Houston, TX
WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND: Commercial production of methane hydrates has become a high priority within the U.S. Government. As gas production in the U.S. struggles to keep pace with demand, it will become a priority within the industry.
Traditional thinking relegates production hydrates to the fairly distant future. However, many leading authorities now insist that first commercial production of methane hydrates can be accomplished in less than five years.
To learn how that can happen safely and profitably, plan to attend Hart's Commercializing Methane Hydrates, the first major conference on commercialization of the world's largest remaining untapped hydrocarbon resource.
Click here to view the article published in the September 2006 issue of E&P Magazine that discusses the issues surrounding commercial production of methane hydrates in more detail.
To find out more about the conference, sponsorships, and speaking opportunities for Hart's Commercializing Methane Hydrates, please click here.
Register now for Hart's Commercializing Methane Hydrates and take advantage of the Early Bird discounted registration fee. Click here to register.
I look forward to seeing you at the conference.
Editor in Chief, E&P Magazine
Brownfields: Optimizing Mature Assets 2006 Conference
Just passing the information from Hart Energy Conference:
Reserve your seat for Hart's Brownfields: Optimizing Mature Assets (BOMA). This year's BOMA 2006 will be held October 31 – November 1, 2006, at the Grand Hyatt Denver in Denver, CO.
Major topics at Hart's BOMA 2006 include:
* Driving efficiencies in infill drilling
* Water management
* Mature asset EOR/OR with an emphasis on CO2 flooding
* Optimizing artificial lift
* Advances in monitoring and modeling
* Emerging techniques and technologies for mature asset optimization
Click here to see the current agenda.
Click here to register.
I look forward to seeing you in Denver!
Editor in Chief, E&P Magazine
Centralize Control Room Dilemma
We are planning to have our centralize control room (CCR) in our group/factory. We plan to include SCADA and Manufacturing Execution System (MES) inside the picture. However, after some discussion with my superior, it seems quite complicated to incorporate SCADA and MES in the CCR. If we want to include MES, that will include production scheduling etc and a lot more departments such as operation, production, shiping etc. We think, those stuff are quite difficult to handle via MES because a lot of thinking are involve in a lot of critical daily decision making.
Therefore, i told my boss that we are actually not looking at MES and not SCADA as a whole, because SCADA will include some extent of human control via the human machine interface (HMI). What we want in the CCR is just some monitoring of the vital plant parameters, some analysis on the Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE), Overall Plant Efficiency (OPE), things like downtime tracking, Key performance index (KPI), and probably some other stuff that I need to think of the make the CCR a really usefull, easy and imperative tool for the top management to use. Got to select the most vital plant tagging as well....Gosh....this is a very tough assignment for me!!!
Terrifying Moment at Boiler House
Few days ago, I posted something about the condition in the boiler at the plant that i work in. We tried to solve the problem and after consulting with our water treatment boiler chemical vendor and his technical expert in America, it was decided to do a caustic boiling inside the boiler to remove all possible traces of oil which was suspected to be inside the boiler. We add up caustic, trisodium phosphate and sodium phosphate and heat up to about 60oC. After monitoring the chemical blending process and pouring the chemicals into the top manhole of the boiler, I leave the boiler and do some other jobs.
Later in the aternoon, after visiting the control room in my plant, I pay a visit to the boiler to see the progress there. I tried to ask to my colleague (the person in charge of the boiler), but he was busy doing something on the boiler control panel. At that moment, I was standing nearby and diagonal to the boiler. Suddenly, there was a very loud explosion. I can slightly see some red colour flame on my right. The incident happened very fast. I was on total shocked and immedietly tried to bend down to cover myself. Then I thought, I should seek cover to protect myself by hiding behind the small boiler house/room just on my left. It was difficult to open my eyes because of the smokes and thousands of fine particles/dust which were covering/flying around the area. I fear there might me a greater secondary explosion that might wipe off the boiler and surrounding area. If that had happened, we might be history!!!
When things became ok about 30 seconds to a minute later, I have a clear picture of what actually occured. I can see smokes and some people start gathering closer to check out the incident. The burner of the boiler which have few dozens of strong bolts holding them was lying on the ground next to the front of the boiler. Thick black coloured oil was expanding and flowing slowly from the burner. All the piping and other materials nearby the burner was damaged. It was not a nice scenery.
Then I saw some people coming down from top of the boiler. I was supprised that there were people there at that time. My colleague, the steam engineer, the chemical vendor and few maintenance fitter came down from the boiler and were supprised to see the burner was ripped off from the boiler body. At that moment, we were wondering, what caused the small explosion to occur? Investigation and theory on what went wrong began.
Chemical Engineers Habit
I don't know about other graduate engineers or chemical engineers, but for me, as engineeers we need to have our target in career and profesion. We need to plan everything since the very beginning. We need to know our destiny. But, sometimes, it's difficult. Sometimes planning seems to be very easy, but the outcome might not be what we want.
Continuous learning is imperative for every engineers. For me I appreciate every knowledge around me. I love knowing new things. I set my own objective, or practice, which is to learn new things everyday. That's why everywhere I go, I'll bring along something to read. It doesn't matter wether the reading material is a book, magazine, printed paper or scribble of paper which i can read or develop ideas from it. I subscribe to a lot of free technical magazines in order to get new and fresh informations. There're a lot of those technical magazines that are available for me to read in my car as well. I read them when i stop at the traffic light!!! and during traffic jam!!! It's a dangerous habit, but I'm used to it....Among the free technical magazines are those that I have linked them on our the right hand column of this blog. Some of the magazine i subscribed online. That'll be easier too. As I checked and browse thru my email, I can read them too.
I'm happy and appreciate the pleasure to learn brand new knowledge everyday. I can post many things on my blog daily, but it's the time factor that prohibit me from doing so. Therefore, I only post something that I thing will benefit my guess and that's part of my intention, which is to share chemical engineering knowledges and experiences. If a chemical engineer does not have the desire or fire or excitement to learn and learn and continue learn...that's not a good sign!!!
For me he/she cannot develop and become a good knowledgeble chemical engineer.
My final say on this topic, ensure you learn new knowledge/ideas daily. Enrich yourself. Set your target. I set my target too. And my back-up target as well. Because life is not easy, sometimes we need plan B, plan C, plan D and so on..because plan A would not work!!!
I'm not saying that I'm a good engineer. But I want to become one. Let's do it and work it out together....
Recently the utility boiler in my factory experienced some foaming problem. We knew foaming takes place when we see foam appeared in the water sample bottle. The water is taken from the autoblowdown line sampling point which takes out the surface boiling water inside the boiler. Although all the water parameters such as total dissolved solid (TDS), pH, alkalinity, phosphate, chloride content seems to be within control ranged the water chemical still create foam.
This is a great deal and matter because this can affect the steam demand and quality that will be consumed by all the plants in the factory. It can affect the production and cost a huge lost.
Although we have change the boiler water, the foam is still there, but at least the foam will dissipate and disappear faster than before, showing sign of improvement. However, my concern and hope is to see zero foam appears from the sample water. Well, we are still trying our best with the help of our boiler chemical supplier to eliminate the problem. I hope the problem will be solved soon.
"If we all did the things we are really capable
of doing, we would literally astound ourselves."
* Thomas Alva Edison *
Sudden Pigging Job
Today I called a friend of mine whom i worked with in my previous company, "Complete Oilfield Stimulation Services" (COSS), an oil and gas servicing company. We have a chat and catched up a little bit with some news and info about the the jobs, projects and company.
He asked for my help. I said, what it is? He asked whether I'm free next week? Between Wednesday till the weekend. I asked him what actually he wants me to do? Then he explained...He wanted me to join him and his team to go to Songkla, Thailand to do the pig retrieval job there. I was supprised when he asked that sort of favour from me.
The 36" filming pig was launched from Cakerawala Platform at the border of Malaysia and Thailand about 1 week ago. It was COSS first trial project there and their first attempt to go international. I was working with COSS previously for about 2 and a half years and i handled a lot of pigging jobs there, but i have not handle any international pigging job yet. This might be an interesting and exciting job to participate.
The problem that my colleague have is he does not have any manpower who have the international passport and expertise to perform and manage the job. That's why, when i called him, he immedietly ask the favour from me. Though I'm dying inside to go and venture a new experience in a new place, I can't go. I have a lot of works, projects and a plant to take care and handle in my existing company that i work now. It's a actually a blow for me. And i know, my boss would never let me take any anual leave that long.
I just wish that I can have a more flexible job that I can freely perform any other technical jobs/projects if invited without affecting my present job. Would that be wonderful?!! I can further develop my overall skills and career.
Vegetable Oil - Food or Fuel - The Future
I have been reading few articles in the past few days relating to oil/fuel. While there's some hope and potential of the vegetable oil like soy bean, rape seed, palm oil, jatropa, and others to be converted as fuel, they are also well known establish food resources. And now, it depends on the world, or maybe to narrow it down, politician rather than scientist to decide on the priority between food or fuel. It will be a lengthy discussion and debate. And perhaps, it's going to be a difficult and tough issue. All of this, a direct result of the depletion of fossil fuel. The reserve which might last for maybe 20-30 or 40 years more, has created staggering urgency to seek renewable energy resources. And as thinking people, we keep thinking and wandering about it....because i believe that vegetable oil will have certain role in the fuel market demand.
In conjunction with that, I was wandering to get some piece of land and plant them with the likes of palm oil and sugar cane mainly because the huge potential of profit that i can gain later. I know, if i have some 10 - 20 acres of land planted with those crops, i can channel them into a variety of products. I can make massive fortune from it, and expand it further from there. Because of that too, i'm slowly learning the kitchen scale biodiesel process....ha ha....
While I was wandering and experimenting the theoretical part of converting used cooking palm oil to diesel, i was struck with the information that the fossil fuel reserve in America is substantially huge. The reserve is more than what the midde east are having now. If I recall correctly, the fossil reserve is about 3 trillion barrels or probably more, and can ensure continuous supply of petroleum (gasolline/diesel/etc) for another 500 years!!!
After reading that, I thought again, what the heck are we doing cracking our head and brain cells to think and develop the biodisel/biofuel industry/technology after knowing that there are a lot of black gold underneath Colarado, USA!!! Opss....ok...at least for the sake of knowledge and new tech.
With this piece of information....for me......there would be NO MORE ISSUE of vegetable oil debate: Food or Fuel....at least for the next 500 years!!!!
Chemical Engineers World Improvements
Recently I got some information from google about google related link. It's a very interesting, useful, informative link that i cannot resist including it into this site. You can see them now on top of this post, which is the bright blue banner. In the above google related link, you can see "searches", "news" and "videos", all related to the subject chemical engineering. One very brilliant thing about this google related link ---> It's automatically updated. Therefore, the news, videos and searches are all fresh stuff. I hope they are beneficial to all of you.
Cooling Tower Water Treatment
Taking care of the cooling tower water is not as easy as it looks. When a cooling tower water looks crystal clear, that means whoever is taking care of the cooling tower is doing a very good job. It also means that the process plant people is also doing a great job as a customer of the cooling tower water receiver. It also means that the operational part of the cooling tower is excellent. The mechanical part of the cooling tower is also in a tip top condition shape. The heat exchanger should also be performing to expectation.
You can expect some slimmy film sticking on your infill when oil leaks
Well, basically what a cooling tower water needs for treatment is basically as follows:
2. corrosion / scale inhibitor
3. Oil dispersant
Well, the specialty chemical required for any cooling tower depends on the cooling tower situation. What i've put on top there is just basic stuff. I'll elaborate on the chemicals in later posts. We must dose the right chemical at the right time, if not, the consequences might be devastating.
Well, you can read more about one company, Nalco, that have a cooling tower water chemical treatment.....read here...
Anyway...i'll talked more about the chemicals later on...
I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!